Published Work of Miriam C. Jacobs

Home » POETRY » Rattlesnake, Oklahoma Today, July/August 2005

Rattlesnake, Oklahoma Today, July/August 2005

POETRY

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 486 other followers

 

Oklahoma Today Magazine, July 2006

Oklahoma Today Magazine, July 2005

Oklahoma Today

July/August 2005

Rattlesnake

On a sightseeing trip through my father’s childhood,
we pass a large rattlesnake, about four feet long, a picture-book rattler
with a beautiful diamond pattern on its back, and fat, venomous jowls, dead in the road.
I ask my father to slow down for a look, but he says he’s seen enough
of dead snakes in his time to keep him, no need for another.

We are driving south, toward Ninnekah, to visit the houses, once twin,
but grown apart in age, just like people, where his aunties, Ida and Ella, once lived.
I am not sure why these houses are important. They are old, like the aunties
in the photograph my father shows me, already ancient when he was a boy.
They stand close to the road, one shut tight and partly covered with brambles,
the other naked, paint peeling, with a young girl and three babies

playing together on its sagging porch. The girl invites us in, of course:
Oklahoma hospitality. But my father would rather remember the house the way it was,
and I don’t ask about the past, its dead interior life.
Still, she obligingly takes our photographs with the Polaroid camera I have brought.

On the way back, past Ninnekah, I look for the dead rattlesnake,
but find only an empty place on the road where it lay. The photo I hold in my hand
shows my father and me standing side by side before towering honeysuckle,
the two houses and their shut up memories behind us.
My father’s arm is around me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: