Rappahannock Bestiary

by Jon Pineda

The snake was part of the river
Disappearing into the snake-
Shaped shadow of slow water.

We stood on the orange clay bank.
A redbreast aligned by the current
Pulling free the shine of its skin.

The surface of the Rappahannock
Lit for a moment by transference:
A little energy here, a little there.

The copperhead neared where
We felt for the first time our spines
As bolts trapped inside bodies.

JON PINEDA is the author of the poetry collection Little Anodynes. He lives in Virginia.