She came at first across my feet, in the deep grass, as a snake;
A venomous serpent.
Instinct incited me to run,
And so I did.
And in doing this—by obeying my instinct—
I was not poisoned.
She came second across my feet, slithering over square office tile;
still a venomous serpent; now at the feet of lawyers, now dressed as a plaintive creature bearing self-inflicted wounds.
Instinct incited me to run,
but believing this time instead that I had the power to charm this snake,
to make it into something other than a snake; by some foolish alchemy, to change its nature and state; and further, in believing its plaintive dress and resolving to attempt to remedy its self-inflicted wounds,
I did not run.
And upon mesmerizing the snake successfully, believed I had in fact charmed it, worked some foolish alchemy; and made it something other than a snake.
And healed its wounds. And made it better.
And in believing all this, also believed myself a better person than I was.
And even celebrated myself, and my achievements, and thought myself ‘good’.
And in doing this, and upon believing myself a snake charmer and an alchemist, and a healer—I was poisoned.
Bitten, and poisoned. Suddenly and without warning;
foolishly, I thought to myself as it slithered away, “unfairly”.
I at once was relieved of the delusion of charming snakes, however; and of
snake charming. And of alchemy. And of healing. And, temporarily, even of my own foolishness.
…the most potent venom of all…
She came third, across my feet, slithering over the pavement leading to my front door; and asked to come in, dressed this time in shame, and repentance, and petitioning redemption.
Still, a serpent.
And remembering the poison it had injected previously into my vein, I was incited to stomp it—to squash its head and break its fangs off brutally against the pavement—
to empty it of its venom and twist its guts into the road with my heel.
But as I lifted my foot, pheromones wafted to my nose and invaded my senses. I was mesmerized, at once; a fool again, and I once more began to try charming it.
To change its nature and state. To transform and transmogrify it. To domesticate it.
And again, to heal it.
Some time went by, and the snake was docile; wrapped warmly around my leg and arm; coiled contently—quietly—across my chest. Finally no longer a snake, I believed;
Charmed, I’m sure.
And in believing this, and for being a fool, I was bitten once more;
Once more, suddenly and without warning. Though, certainly, not “unfairly”.
And I was poisoned;
And in believing I could charm this snake, or any serpent, I was expired.
Poisoned, and cold; left alone in the tall grass and on the office tile and the suburban pavement—a fool, mesmerized and poisoned, at last,
A poisoned fool with no creature or lawyer or serpent other than himself to blame for it.
Bitten and poisoned and passed on,
Neither rightly nor wrongly.