One of the things that scares me about Texas…







Rattlesnake Roundup

There’s a small town in Texas
where everyone gathers for an annual
rattlesnake festival called a Roundup;

I don’t want to go, but not just
because of the snakes,
even though I’m afraid of snakes – and not just rattlers;
it’s not because some think it cruel to cull thousands
and thousands of them and dump every last one
in pits to sort, milk, skin and cook in contests
as a form of Texas pest control like we spray for ants
or hide mousetraps behind the couch;

the thing that bothers me is that it’s just ‘an’
and not ‘the’ roundup because
apparently and surprisingly folks do this wherever
the snakes are and they’re everywhere,
and it’s one of the best parts about
living in these everywhere’s which is what
scares me because
I might wind up living in a place like this someday;

well, that, and the rattlesnake beauty contest
in which the winners behead and skin rattlers,
then leave their bloody hand prints on the wall
as absolutely everyone cheers them on and
that frightens me as well because I have daughters.