Small Green Grass Snake

by Carl Little

Small Green Grass Snake
          Great Spruce Head Island, Maine

Slithers through the grass, although
slithers doesn’t do its movements justice
maybe glide or ripple or shapeshift,
so delicate, thin, moving up the path
ahead of my footsteps.

God or someone saw the shape in the grass
and called it green grass snake, an easy
ID compared to, say, Bactrian camel
or nudibranch or ocelot, all part
of Paradise, which makes me think

of the poor snakes of St. Croix
enjoying reign of a virgin island
looking up one day to find mongoose
in their path, which proceed to rip them
skin from skin, brought in

to clean up Eden, a RikkiTikkiTavi
nightmare for the serpent crew,
a kind of injustice played out by man
playing god, and the ghosts of those snakes
rattle dry corn shakes while here

on this island a slim slider of a light green hue
that wouldn’t know a mongoose from a mole hill
heads off to the left in search of edibles
in the northern kingdom of Great Spruce
where no one holds dominion over nothing.