The snake is real. The snake bites
the ankle. That much is certain. The prince
is another story. If I am a pilot
hallucinating in the desert, then what
is real? My father explained the plane crash,
the dehydration, the vast plains of sand,
how they fool you. I was very young,
didn’t want to know that the prince was a trick
of light, of desperation. To believe is to ask
the questions without expecting
an answer, to see the elephant, l’essentiel
est invisible aux yeux. There exists
in my mind a place where the prince is
and isn’t: please lend me a hand,
draw me a sheep, cover me
in a glass bell every night
before I go to sleep. The space between
the two things is small: he existed.
He was never there. If I have to choose
I choose the snake bite, the moment
of falling. L’essentiel est invisible. Choose
the desert, choose water, choose flying
off alone in your plane. Comfort me.
The night is dark and full of little lights.
Liz Hutchinson is a horticulturist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Her first collection of poems, Animalalia, published by YesNoPress, is available for purchase.