On the summer road that ran by our front porch Lizards and snakes came out to sun. It was hot as a stove out there, enough to scorch A buzzard's foot. Still, it was fun To lie in the dust and spy on them. Near but remote, They snoozed in the carriage ruts, a smile In the set of the jaw, a fierce pulse in the throat Working away like Jack Doyle's after he'd run the mile.
Aunt Martha had an unfair prejudice Against them (as well as being cold Toward bats.) She was pretty inflexible in this, Being a spinster and all, and old. So we used to slip them into her knitting box. In the evening she'd bring in things to mend And a nice surprise would slide out from under the socks. It broadened her life, as Joe said. Joe was my friend.
But we never did it again after the day Of the big wind when you could hear the trees Creak like rocking chairs. She was looking away Off, and kept saying, "Sweet Jesus, please Don't let him near me. He's as like as twins. He can crack us like lice with his fingernail. I can see him plain as a pikestaff. Look how he grins And swings the scaly horror of his folded tail."