By SAVANNAH SIPPLE
My husband rises
at four in the morning
for chores, argues with me
about the black snake out by the barn,
says it keeps the copperheads away,
He drives to the mines after I threaten
to kill it myself. He knows I won’t.
He comes home late, his headlights cut
sharp through the trees that line the woods.
He smells of dying earth. Black dust trails him
to the shower, lifelines that won’t wash out
of his skin or my rugs.
He has dinner and just sits,
doesn’t play with the kids,
even when they try to seduce him
with promises they won’t cheat.
His blue eyes are silent, rougher
than his scuffed hands gripping my hips,
trying to feel something, but we make love
without kissing. And I love him,
but I can’t help thinking about the snake,
five feet of tape stretched between us,
and wonder if anything
can keep the poison out.
Savannah Sipple lives in Eastern Kentucky. Her poetry has been published in Appalachian Heritage and The Louisville Review. She teaches at a community college, works in TV production and video editing, and is involved in various projects to promote literary arts through videography.
Editor’s Note: This poem was a finalist in the 2009 New Southerner Literary Contest.