Elegy for a Young Copperhead by Charlotte Rea

Charlotte Rea is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest

Photo of jade dragon
Photo by Max Letek on Unsplash

So proud you must be, atop
the fence rail, its flat
black the perfect
matte for
your copper.
Your telltale yellow
tail-tip aglow under the
vines,I’ve come to clip gloveless,
blind to your sinuous stretch just
a strike from my fingertips.
Who is frightened
more by
our fateful
brush with peril?
You given no chance
to respond as the shovel severs
your tender neck–death quick
as your tiny hourglasses
bleed out time.
Your climb
is all hope
you remember,
synched dance of scale
and muscle, flexing and pushing,
smooth glide of soft belly across
course pine, the sun lush
on your back, not

the spades
steel-cold
hack.


Charlotte Rea
Charlotte Rea is a life-long Virginian, only straying to go to college and to spend a twenty-six year career in the United States Air Force where she was a logistician for aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missile and space systems. She returned back to Virginia after her retirement in 2002 and currently lives with her hound dog Maggie, a rescue, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She has had several poems published previously.

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