Between me and the clothesline--
a bull snake whose blotches blend
with wet dirt and dead leaves.
No hiss or fake rattlesnake coil,
still-- silly me--I shield myself
with a plastic laundry basket.
Last summer, I was enthralled
by a bull snake in my apple tree.
Disguised by the mottled bark,
it stretched toward a robin’s nest,
and, yes, I couldn’t help but wonder
what the heck Eve was thinking.
The year before, a pair mated
near the garage door, and so much for
rural advice, “They eat rats. They eat mice.”
I said it twice before the urge took hold
to hack them with a rake. Instead, I yelled,
“Go get a room at the bullsnake motel!”
Even now, there’s an image I cannot erase
of the hapless snakes who tainted my space.
Nancy Harris McLelland taught creative writing, composition, and literature for over twenty years and Conducted writing workshops for the Western Folklife Center, Great Basin College , and the Great Basin Writing Project . An Elko County native with a background in ranching. McLelland has presented her "Poems from Tuscarora" Both at daytime and evening events at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Her essay, "Border Lands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon" is in the anthology Cowboy Poetry Matters .