To see the snake there
I am amazed I do not have to kneel
on the wet ground.

If a fox suns nearby
she curls into a shadow,
as the hounds pass in silence
listening for the sound of flight.

In that moment,
I do not see our God crying,
longing to embrace his abandoned children
when we fall, unable to rise,
caught in a tangle of hawthorn and roses.
I cannot suspend doubt
to pray or plead or hold out my hand.

Rain falls suddenly from a shattering sky.
I lean into the tree, the snake shudders
and from deep in its eyes looks into me
sees me abandoned, punished, holds its strike.

Delicate red scales fold one into another,
black pupils in yellow sheaths fix my breath.
The snake is alive but does not move,
beautiful in its terrible stillness.

In that moment,
If I could see our God crying
I would hold out my hand,
but I do not move.
I do not dare.