The Naga nemesis


Booing at my human form
they hang from the sprawling tree
Their collective jeer of forked tongues
an elongated, red efflorescence
I smell their venom before I feel
hissing breaths flicking my hackles
I stand my slithering ground
as invincible as them in my dream
though Manasa writhes underneatha
and Shesha cradles
in his thousand-headed glory
the frame of an absconded deity
Kaliya floats unperturbed on a black river
grinning as the poor bend and drink
Vasuki emerges from a deserted womb
his mouth oozing slush and brine

The tree trunk uncoils as I toss in my dream
into several more scaly forms
Their offspring wound themselves round my feet
The hanging ones pull me up with ease
Waiting for the inevitable
I watch the crawling ants below
trying to fight themselves to death
while Ananta’s rapidly coiling form
squeezes their life out like popping sweet peas
still chuckling at the irony
as they swallow me whole
and vomit my poisoned soul
to search for a discarded snake skin
©Reena Prasad 14th May 2013


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