Joe Jiménez

Allegory of the Rattlesnake

 

1
Under sun, in debris: a cascabel hums its whole nautilus
of fangdom and scales, a harmony.

But it came for us, we said. We heard, and we’d heard:
ooooooThey can come for you. They will lash out. Anima:
oooooopain. And when it came—

As demon. As menace, as monolith, They as Goliath.

Everything we heard about rattlesnakes: the cascabel
made of God but less godly
oooooothan us—

 

2
Understand this: Anyone can suffer.

 

3
In my most Mexican self, I understand the sun built a fire, for He once was a God
who said: the body cannot be dispensed
00000with unless I allow it. So I kneel
and show the sun my throat and hope He can fathom me whole.
00000I’d suckle obsidian for a chance at wholeness.
00000But ardor. But fear. Ayotzinapa. But prayer. Ferguson like Juarez.

 

4
Until I learn to unlove the systems that make me.
Until I hold a man in my mouth like a mouse or a cricket, a white moth, or a hare.

 

5
It is no surprise. We refute the wholeness
of those we believe will do us harm.

He deserved it, we said.
Look at the shit he’d done.

Had it coming, some of us agreed.

 

6
Because fear is not an accident.

 

The ego of hissing. The bravado that is blabbering. The cascabel’s teat-pink suit, its fang wilt
and coil. The fiasco of scales and long rope.

Under debris, in sun: my body and his, yours and hers—
on asphalt, on hillsides, in trash heaps, in rivers, in fires in a great desert
anywhere in the world—

 


Joe Jiménez

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