Armistice by Nicholas Barnes

Illustration by Mimi Mutesa @mimimutesa

I wonder how he’s faring

night after night in my closet.

Darkness reveals his lemonseed eyes,

that dear serpentine stalker, my monster.

Perhaps he’s a cousin to that watersnake

who curled up next to my body on warm bedrock.

The same one that slithered after me

through the rushing waters of Clear Creek.

I never did anything to him.

I never asked for his fangs.

I used to check under my bed

every night before I went to sleep.

But I never knew what I’d do

if I found him there with a crooked smile.

Now I get beneath the sheets with abandon.

He can take me if he wants me.

I’m tired of running

from scaly skin and razor rattles.

Maybe we’re both tired of the chase,

maybe we can make a truce.

Yes, tonight, we’ll meet in the sun again,and shed our past as reptiles do.

Nicholas Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Southern Oregon University. He is currently working as an editor in Portland, and enjoys music, museums, movie theaters, and rain. His least favorite season is summer and his favorite soda is RC Cola.

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