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Like sable coils of twisted cord that glisten in the light,
Scales round with tiger stripes are scored, death spoiling for a fight.
Draped on a stump – a tree long dead, bone dry in heat of day.
A flickering fork from poisoned head that smells the air for prey.

Mulberry bow, black fletched with crow – an arrow, notched, half drawn.
The boy, the hunter, stealing slow, makes not a sound to warn.
The serpent looks with steely eyes that see no danger yet.
Though close below its burrow lies, the hunter’s trap is set.

A powerful arc, a full drawn bow, the snake in mortal fear,
It dashes for its den below, an arrow thudding near.
A blur of sleek uncoiling rings, swift down the hole it glides.
The bow string twangs, the arrow sings, through flesh and bone it slides.

The threshing tail flies side to side, a writhing lashing whip.
Escape from certain death denied, held in the arrow’s grip.
The hunter draws it from its lair, lays on the ground his prize.
The vanquished of a contest fair, like bloodied rope it lies.
And so plays out the ancient duel ‘twixt snake and son of man.
Lays slain the fleeing serpent cruel, as in the Maker’s plan.

© Dennis N. O’Brien, 2011