Poem in Which Girl Speaks to Snake

We’re not supposed to parley, Ropey Joe.
I’m meant to close my eyes and shut the door.
But you’re a slender fellow, Ropey Joe,
……………………………………thin enough
to slip beneath the door and spill your wicked do-si-do
……………..in curlicues and hoops across the floor.
I’ll be here. And I’m all ears –
there are things I want to know.

Oh tell me tell me tell me
about absinthe and yahtze,
and sugarskulls and ginger, and dynamite and hearsay,
and all the girls and boys who lost their way
and the places in the woods we’re not to go
and all the games we’re not allowed to play –
there are so many things to know.

My mother’s got the supper on the go.
My father will be sagging in his chair.
But you’re a speedy fellow, Ropey Joe,
……………………………………quick enough
to slide behind his back, a wicked line of dominoes
…………….zipping through the hall and up the stairs.
Come on, pal. I’m ready now –
There are things I want to know.

Oh tell me tell me tell me
about lightning and furies
and ligatures and diamonds, and zipwires and gooseberries
and all the girls and boys who went astray
and all the ones who never got to go
and all the words we’re not supposed to say –
there are so many things to know.

They told me you were trouble, Ropey Joe.
You’ve always got to tip the applecart.
But you’re a subtle fellow, Ropey Joe,
……………………………………suave enough
to worm your way inside and pin your wicked mistletoe
……………..above the crooked lintel to my heart.
Come on then, shimmy in –
there are things I want to know.

Oh tell me tell me tell me
about hellhounds and rubies
and pretty boys and bad girls, and runaways and lost boys
and all the things that made my mother cry
and all the things he said to make her stay
and all the things we’re not allowed to say –
there are so many things to know.

Abigail Parry

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