The Snake Handler

After Dennis Covington

I’m not long for this
world, the young man

said nonchalantly.
The next night I

watch him at church. Why
would one take up

death, suicide? He
grasps the rattler

from the wooden box.
Horrified, I

can’t look away. He
lifts the serpent

slithering, tongue out
straight in my face—

all the madness and

of my faith I’ve tried
to keep hidden.

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