Metamorphosis: A Poem

By Gillian Bennett

(contest winner)


During the race,

I found a

snakeskin

laying next to a

rotting log.

Translucent and white, tiny

scales

still visible.

Some ghost of the past,

left behind as a fragment

while the rest remained

a whole. 


The other kids thought

it was something

dead,

but I knew, 


transformation demands a

kind of death. 


They poked at it with sticks

like they were prodding

cattle,

like they could make it move.

In inanimate defiance, it stayed

limp

in the mud,

as if to say,

be afraid,

be very afraid,

I am your future.

Limp, empty, lifeless.

As we live, so must we die. 


In the same breath,

it said to me, 

be not afraid,

for I am not gone.

 

And now, I must learn

to shed my skin,

to shatter my shell,

as the snake did,

as the hatchling does

My final trick in this

circus. 


I will do it, as well as I

am able.