A Body Must Be More Than Bones so Why Keep the Urn

by JESSICA GUZMAN ALDERMAN


Snake that squeezed my hand, snake I lost early evening,
snake armor, snake jail, snake cuddled under the t.v.
stand, basketball on, someone cries, someone screams—
how did it get here, the lanai fastened, the glass gate
we go to. Medusa disapproves: snake slips from the conch
where my father snuffs a cigar, his hands bruised
in their grooves, t.v. dial blue, he lies on the couch, I hear him,
but what did you think ashes were. Snake on the street corner,
won’t the light turn green, don’t I watch from the window,
the canal hiss, the cars dart, and I can’t keep pace
between snakes, the t.v. isn’t on at all, my father in another room
while a snake whorls, sliding door smudged open. My mother’s
three a.m. call, I push the t.v., I scream, glass breaks
at my feet, I cry my father’s died, my mother corrects
your dad’s expired, her Latinate verbs, her broken church
the day after their anniversary, the snakeskin in my bed.