You are never to kill a snake
You are to put the rock down,
stop scanning the veld for sharp sticks.
Retreat, slowly, without turning around,
over the field, past the dam, past the baby cow crying in its pen
back to the big house or the small house.
You are to find an uncle or a grandpa
or, perhaps, a father
inside one of these houses.
You are to state the exact location of the last-known
whereabouts of the snake,
as well as its markings, colour, size.
You are never to kill it because
snakes are part of the fabric of the world.
Do you want the world to crumble?
You don’t want that, do you?
You are to tell an uncle, grandpa, or a father, perhaps
You are to leave it at that.