He laid in the sun;

so black and white,

so big, he looked so heavy.

Striped and fat,

he laid on the road by my grandmother’s house.

He’s wearing prisoner’s clothes, I said;

prisoners always wore black and white stripes

in the movies my grandmother liked.

She laughed;

you say the craziest things sometimes,

she eased him back to the weeds with a stick.

My grandmother lived in a house in the country.

A cold green creek ran through the yard.

It’s full of snakes, she used to say

and I pictured a deep, dark pit filled with vipers.

A day or two passed and he laid there again,

on the road in front of my grandmother’s house;

I asked her,

did he go to snake heaven;

he was dry as the dust,

still in his prisoner’s clothes.

I pictured a cold green pool in the sky

like the creek that ran through my grandmother’s yard.

She laughed;

the things you come up with, she said.

But to this day I hope he is there—

he is still so heavy, to me.