Turf War

Garter Snake_watermarked

Small common garter snake suns himself
on large round boulder beside Mission Creek.
Not hungry or thirsty, just enjoying sun,
cool breeze.

Tiny fly lands beside him.
He doesn’t really mind,
he has just eaten a fine lunch
of dragon-fly.

But that fly settles down to stay
on his rock.
Made him agitated,

Small triangular head
waves menacingly
back and forth
but  dozing fly does not move.

Puffed with indignation he slithers toward the fly.
Hungry or not,
his boulder is not going to be
taken over by a fly.

Fly flew off but the day was spoiled
for the snake.
He could not close his eyes or relax,
other arrogant flies may try to take over.

Breezes die, sun gets hot,
but he does not give up his position,
the best spot
on his boulder.

That night a seagull snacks on crisp, dry body
of a little brown snake more intent
on keeping what didn’t belong to him
than protecting what was most precious of all.

© 1994 Sharron R. McMillan

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