the sunlight

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Carrying The Snake To The Garden
By Mary Oliver

In the cellar
was the smallest snake
I have ever seen.
It coiled itself
in a corner
and watched me
with eyes
like two little stars
set into coal,
and a tail
that quivered.
One step
of my foot
and it fled
like a running shoelace,
but a scoop of the wrist
and I had it
in my hand.
I was sorry
for the fear,
so I hurried
upstairs and out the kitchen door
to the warm grass
and the sunlight
and the garden.
It turned and turned
in my hand
but when I put it down
it didn’t move.
I thought
it was going to flow
up my leg
and into my pocket.
I thought, for a moment,
as it lifted it’s face,
it was going to sing.

And then it was gone.

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