“Rockets in the Sun” / Ashley Inguanta

I have seen more snakes this year
than I can remember. They hide
sometimes, behind shrubs
and under rocks. Sometimes
they curl in leaves–still–as
I pass. Other times they
walk the same path as me,

and no, this is not a metaphor;
handfuls of snakes have found me
this year. They come out like
towns above the horizon. They
come out like rockets in the sun.

I hike to become something
other than a woman who drives
on roads. I hike to become
something other than a woman
who you could not love.

I wonder what it’s like to be
chosen for something
remarkable, something kind.

Does the snake understand?
Does it know I am afraid?
Does it know that it chooses me, over and over?
Does it know I don’t want it?

___

Ashley Inguanta is a writer, artist, student, and educator who is driven by landscape. She is the author of The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press 2013), For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books 2014), and Bomb (Ampersand Books 2016). You can find Ashley’s work in journals and anthologies like The Rumpus, SmokeLong Quarterly, Tragedy Queens, and other literary spaces.