The Infant in the Rushes. by Alex Ledford

         did the baby water moccasin float in
on a palm-sized river,
flick its tongue to sniff
our toast and bacon,
through the crack between
the foundation and door?
Will it poison us?
It broke the shell of its tiny egg
with one tooth, and now
it can't tell the difference
between floor and ceiling
(when all you see is up,
up's direction matters
only a little). Down the back stairs
the basement flooded again,
water the color of red clay
up to your waist
even after zoos of insects
bounced on the current
out the open hatch.
The water moccasin ate the insects.
He enjoyed them very much.

Alex Ledford graduated from the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire. A NC native, she has since come home to live, write, and teach college. She works remotely for Outlook Springs literary journal, and publication history includes Bop Dead City, So to Speak, Midway (Best of the Net ’17 nomination), and others.