The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020. 


Shape-shifting Jesus is green as a water snake,
muscling along in the stream, parting mud
with his narrow shoulders.

Shape shifting Jesus
rises from the puddles in a mist, shakes the dew
from his mane, lumbers golden and smelling of
blood past where the chickens squawk in fright.
If he eats them it will be gentle, and they will
like it.

Later, feathers sprout from his back
and heavy wings beat the air. He is not an eagle,
he is a vulture.

He has found my body where I
forgot to reclaim it, he is nesting in my vitals,
with my heart in his talons, pecking my eyes
out with his black beak.

Later still he will be
in your church, folded into a pale round of starch,
placed in your mouth.

Holding all my memory
and desire, he dissolves on your tongue.

Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a freelance academic and organic grower residing in rural Ohio. Her creative work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Two Hawks Quarterly, Presence, Connecticut River ReviewShooter, New Ohio Review, The Seventh Wave, and Westerly. Her collaborative chapbook Mud Woman, with Joanna Penn Cooper, was published in 2018, and her collection Talking to Snakes by Ethel in summer 2020.


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