Its Own Egg

and if we were to keep
this small thing
that now probably looks like
the new born mice
we feed to the snake
we bought together
i know he’d want to name it
penny or lucy
or jude if it were a boy
but that’s all just silly

and we videotaped the snake
swallowing its first pinky -
that’s what the guy
at the pet store called it anyway-
a mouse the size of a thimble
and pink all over
but its tiny chest was blood red
its hairless skin,
its still and silent heart

and after the snake swallowed it,
after she maneuvered her jaws
bit by bit
around its body
there was a lump in her gut
and I could tell it hurt
to contract the muscles
to push it down
and down
until it disappeared

and i remember one night
several weeks later
ten gleaming white eggs
piled up under the snake’s yellow bedding
in the corner

and i heard something flop against the glass
the snake struggling to get something down
her mouth wide, holding its own egg
where inside a tinier version of her
was building itself

and i knew her fangs
had worked their way
into the egg, into whatever was inside
and the shell cracked
and goop and blood flooded out

and i imagined what it would taste like
to eat those things -
those little red hearts that used to beat
and scales that might glimmer in the light
all sliding down beneath my own cold scales

Meredith Jones.

If you've any comments on this poem, Meredith Jones would be pleased to hear them.

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