A snake swerves along the ground
painting its skin with dust
the chalk of nature bleaching scales
every rustle through the dried grass
perks up ears and sets vermin aflight.
Each flicker of the tongue
a black flash — a tarry sheen
not unlike searing summer sun
at noon when all life itches to eat
some rare nourishment from gods.
The snake licks the earth to hear
not to sample the powder and the lime
but to find each patter and scuttle
until swerving stops and the arch to wait
before the lunge and the second-long meal.