In the Garden

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley

          The giant snake’s eyes are as akakagachi, of one body, with eight heads and eight tails.

                     — The Kojiki: urtext of Japanese mythology


as paper lantern

          as the cut bellies

of eight winter


are my father’s eyes

          when he hears

of the giant snake

          in our neighbor’s garden


          slither from his heels

                     while he makes the walk

          short with shovel

                     with knife

          with a coiled roll

                     of duct tape

          The color

has long washed

          from my Superman

pajamas yellowing

          quicker than

crepuscular twilight

          pooling at tiny feet

pissing myself

          in true fear

                     of his arrival

          with the snake’s

                     black body

          with the snake’s

                     shorn head

          Wrap it shut

he says or it will

          still bite

My small hands

          sticky with silver

tape. I peel apart


the unhinged

          jaws of a god.


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