Photograph by Yusuf Kidwai, modelling by Leah Edisbury

Here on my arm
Wrapped comfortably
Constricting my wrist
So my veins bulge violently
Here on my arm
She is my beautiful
My only love
My python wears animal skins
And asks that she be held

And I hand-feed my baby
Her white skin pure from birth
She eats albino rats still warm
And leaves creamy eggs in the dirt
Those round and perfect planets
Those promising little moons
My python knows it’s all about her
And there is little room

The lines have begun to blur
The sun lamp’s power is fading
She’s basking in the warmth
But it’s always more she’s craving
And when my arm has lost its charm
She’ll shed off all her skin
My pure pretty python will go searching
For somewhere it’s not raining

And I hand-raised my baby
Her black soul
And mine are merged
I may no longer know her face
But I know all her body curves

Now I navigate the in-between
Searching for a hand
Someone who can constrict my heart
So it may return to sand

In my mind’s eye
Her back a perfect arch
My pretty python under me
Humming a funeral march

Oh and I handled my baby
With tenderness and care
But snakes are starving souls
That eat men whole
With smooth and gruesome flare