In Which I am the Ouroboros

by Dorothy McGinnis

The cobra is known to eat one meal that
then sustains her for weeks at a time.
This single hunt a declarative act of 
overindulgence.

She’s well aware what it is to have 
scales stretched, ready to burst, something sickening.
her body announcing 
This Is Not What God
Intended.

Gluttony is a sin advertised on the
thighs of
girls who do not
need to slither beneath the brush.
Who wear their skin
like it’s still got spare thread from sitting
on the throne at the top of the food chain
clinging to the inner corners of their knees. 
Soft, like worthiness. They are not a
blight or a curse or a tumor or
something else it is 
only natural to shed.

When the cobra sees a mouse and
thinks nausea before hunger, those are the 
good days. When her hood hangs loose around
her tendons, those are the good weeks.

How easy it must be to swallow
without the word Binge, its meaty question mark.
This gristle of how much better you could be if you had
a little willpower, dammit, getting 
caught between your teeth?

How often does the cobra play with her own poison,
when is she bitter that any other body can go down so quick.
God, hateful enough to
make her resistant to her own toxin.

Does she imagine her limp body,
cold blood no longer 
coursing through plump veins,
and mourn the footprints circling in avoidance?
No passerby marvel at her beauty,
the somber elegance of this body
that chose to stop breathing.

How small a corpse is as it fades
from memory, the quietness in describing
a dead girl as beautiful.

The cobra at night, caught between
watchful white stars and earth she is not deserving
of, dreams of ripping her forked tongue
further down its divide until
she is only two halves.

She’s wishing to create one half width
of trail disheveling sand, but more so
to find herself within a smaller coffin.

In the meantime, she slips out of a topcoat
of skin, praying this new flesh is better.

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