She’s a blanched rendition of him
sand beside black diamonds and gold
duplicates his pleats
rattle to rattle, scale to scale
sleek and callow as a rests on a spine.
One by one vertebrae recoil
plump with venom, fermented years
inside a glass box. The drip drip
of condensate, slow
torture when the vapor pipe spews.
I tap with my nail, trace
a fracture to assuage pressure.
The reptiles lay static on rock,
under a heat lamp while I study
their flexible exterior
the illusion of silken skin
frozen amid merging colors
an ascending serpent rainbow.
Her body gleans, subdues his splendor,
his cold blanket of protection.