after “Untitled" (White Center, Yellow, Pink, Lavender on Rose), Mark Rothko, 1950
Hear they taste like chicken, some Facebook asshole posts later this afternoon, three emoticons jiggling har, har har at the clips of the swollen rattler slothing under the noonday sun in an elementary school yard, much to the horror of the janitor who spotted it, the head teacher who screamed into the phone, all those kids pressed up against the windows, wondering whose kitty was inside that snake.
Dialing 311 gets you the city, the city gets you animal welfare, animal welfare gets me. I grab my gloves, boots, tongs and a bucket, head on over there. She’s all bulge and tail, glory from tongue to tip, brown scales hiding into the patch of sand she’s settled in. A profile like the snake in The Little Prince, all plumped up with elephant, lookin’ like a sombrero. I croon to the rattler like I do to my baby, nice and gentle, get her somewhere safe. That night, after the kids are tucked in, I look up that online jerk, easy to track these days. Tomorrow, when the sun’s hottest, I’ll drive out to the west mesa, find three more fine pot-bellied specimens, one for each har, drive down the alley behind his house, drop those puppies over his chain-link fence. He won’t notice for all the weeds and trash. Give ’em two weeks to digest, get skinny again, slither on empty, mouths stretching wide.
Mikki Aronoff’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Intima, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent Journal, Popshot Quarterly, The South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Gentian Journal, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she is also involved in animal advocacy.