Brown Snake Awakens in the Everywhen

She emerged from the rushes and appeared to me
splayed on the path like the mathematical symbol for
‘similar to’, my fear edged out by stupefaction
and the urge to inspect her, she sensed this
on the tip of her chisel-shaped snout, fleeing
moving like an embodied soundwave into the tree
shadows. I dreamt she swam in the lake that morning
to dispel her hibernation drunkenness. Her new
vitality momentarily electrifying the grey matter
of the nineteen souls who had drowned there
over the years. Memories as fleeting as fast-moving
currents, shooting into their stem cells: the feel of
a wife’s soft belly; the smack of a school cane
against a buttock; an old man’s face bathed in
stained-glass rainbow colours; that hymn they
sing at church with the words ‘mighty thunder’.

Fiona Perry

Listen to Fiona reading ‘Brown Snake Awakens in the Everywhen’ (1:17).

Fiona Perry’s poetry and short stories have been published in Lighthouse, The Blue Nib, Other Terrain, Boyne Berries and Skylight 47, amongst many others. Her short fiction won first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction awards 2020, and her poetry was selected for the National Poetry Day Ireland 2019 ‘Labellit’ project. Alchemy, her first collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Turas Press (Dublin).

© text and audio 2020