The Serpent

A serpent lies dormant in my chest

It wraps itself around my ribs, sleeping.

When I think of all my failings

It slips down, landing heavily on my gut

Squashing my diaphragm

Redirecting the blood away from my head.

Its tail flickers dangerously up my throat

The death rattle by my tonsils

I am afraid it will escape from my mouth.

I blink then stare upwards, feeling the cold air hit my eyeballs.

Ragged shallow breaths.

In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In…

Swallowing it down.

The lump returns uneasily to my chest.


Blink. Breathe. Blink. Breathe.

Until those movements become automatic again.


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