Three Poems

The Little Courtesans
of Snake Alley

He says they’re displayed

in glass cases,

nine or ten
or twelve years old,

and the places
that should be flat

are not.

Their faces shine
in opera colors,

and in the spaces
that riddle his description,

I walk again that gauntlet:

snakes writhing opened
from wire nooses,

a naked turtle gasping
on a hook.


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