American Rattler by Anna Kander

I am not a silent poet

Extreme and Vicious Dangers of the United States

“a federal investigation found that deputies had used stun guns on prisoners already strapped into a ‘restraint chair.’ The family of one man who died after being forced into the restraint chair was awarded more than six million dollars… The family of another man killed in the restraint chair got $8.25 million… after the discovery of a surveillance video that showed fourteen guards beating, shocking, and suffocating the prisoner, and after the sheriff’s office was accused of discarding evidence, including the crushed larynx of the deceased.”

—evidence against former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio,
pardoned by President Trump on August 25, 2017,
as reported by Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker

1.

the American rattlesnake is shedding its skin
revealing another layer

sticky with newness and sharp-edged with scales
the same, deathless serpent

brown-on-brown like a Western Diamondback
winding beneath…

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