Photography © Karen A. Szklany


Baby Snakes & Santa

Last October you sent me pictures
of your girls playing with baby snakes
with a Santa head on a wooden garden spike.

I waited

for tambourines and a fast-lipped preacher;
was relieved when that didn’t happen.
The girly bracelet on the taller girl dangled
near the snake’s head, its tiny forked tongue
feeling its surroundings, checking out beads
for heat or whatever it is that snakes seek.
I saw it slither off her hand, into the space
between the trinkets, winding itself around
her arm like a winding staircase. Up, up her
arm, around her neck, into her mouth
and out her nose. Santa’s eyes saw the whole
strange thing and wondered why the seasons
were so fucked-up.


John Dorroh shouldn’t procrastinate about starting his day in his basement office because he has so much to say. Not that any of it matters in the big scheme, but it makes him feel good to write it down and sometimes share. If you don’t like it, then quit reading it, right? He once wrote his way around Iceland, stopping at the convenience stores that pepper the barren landscape. An Icelandic horse ate his best poem, so there you go. The Universe was trying to tell him something?

Karen A. Szklany was born in New York and now lives in a New England co-housing community. She is the author of several collections of poetry, gardening books and Unitarian Universalist sermons. Karen also serves as a Life Healing and Transformation Coach on the labyrinth path.