The two parts of the decapitated copperhead both live on—or seem to— for minutes after the severing. The body wrings itself, the mouth gapes on open air, and then the blind tail writhes into the open mouth, which bites down savagely on its former self. The body recoils and rolls in a vain attempt to dislodge the teeth that once fed it. The several members of this body now met, in opposition, a house divided against itself— by shovel blade divided. I will put enmity between you.... He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. How greatly fallen this mighty house of bone, organ, muscle, and fang, warred on by a man afraid of poison. What triumph does he feel in living to see the serpent biting its own heel?

LUKE HANKINS is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions, and the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets (both from Wipf & Stock). He serves as Senior Editor at Asheville Poetry Review, and he is the founder and editor of Orison Books, a non-profit literary press focused on the life of the spirit from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives.