Casting

Casting

Casting

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Sept. 27 2000 3:00 AM

Casting

They found a young snake nested
in its first casting, nested in a pouch of cast-off
bark against a white birch tree. It was black
and had a narrow ring of brass
around its neck. She held its throat
and it held her by the wrist like a vine
around a young branch.
She raised it level to their eyes and they watched
how the inner lids spread like milk
over the brilliant eye-seeds. The lower jaw
dropped, flexed, and the yellow-tinged,
delicate hinges unhooked like
purse clasps. The inside of its mouth was freshly pink,
like a girl's when she opens to you, and the sun
shines through her cheek. 

Karen Holmberg was a recipient of the 1996 Discovery/The Nation Award. Her poems have appeared in The Nation, Gulf Coast, Bomb, and Paris Review. She won the Vassar Miller Prize in poetry, and her collection, The Perseids, will be published in February 2001.