The Snake and the Fig Leaf
Susan Gubernat
      for the composer David Alpher

The first time someone directs us
in the gesture of shame:
cupping the mouth,
the genitals, with our tiny hands,
muting the silver braying
of brasses inside us

the snake
rises up from the pit of the forest,
as if on hind legs and
bows as if from a waist,
signals encore, encore

and the silence he makes
follows us to our graves