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.