by Kimberly Martz

My father pulls the diamondback from the oak hull, stretches it
                      to full length and laughs. The rattle
          is pudgy, flesh-toned, like my brother’s bruised arm.

When he drives the pitchfork through the angular head,
                      lifts the snake, suddenly, into the air, it’s
          a long slack ribbon, a gold muscular thread. Still,

the lush tapestry of its skin comes off like so much
                      dross, as though this shedding, too, were part
          of its natural pattern – how it must have sifted

the oak’s husk, drawn light like a needle in its passing,
                      stitched a patch of air not unlike the dipping,
          swaying arc of my father’s knife, the slow carving

of flesh from casing, venom and blood staining his gloves.
                      Strange, how the suture he tacks to the wall
          resembles the fresh scar hemming my brother’s jaw:

scalloped edge of diamonds glinting in and out with the gutter
                        of the television: the same rough seam ripped open
          again and again by his beveled fist.

Kimberly Martz received her B.A. in English from Auburn University, where she received an Academy of American Poets Prize. Currently, she is working on her M.F.A. at the University of Oregon. She has had poems published in Poet Lore, The Southern Poetry Review, and Urban Spaghetti.

Kimberly Martz was nominated for Poets Under 30 by Natasha Trethewey.