Snake Skin in the Breezeway
by Martha Christina

Just a covered slab of concrete,
a poor man’s
low wall open to next door.

Our neighbor’s daughter
joined me there in the
stereophonic crescendo
of our parents’ failed marriages.
Over the shouting and sobbing,
we tried talking: she had
a new 45 (“Why Do Fools
Fall in Love?”) and a crush
on the new track coach.

Thunderclouds rolled,
tired metaphors,
in and out over the lake,
and we wished aloud
for rain, that illusion
of air-clearing.

She saw the snake skin first,
against the wall,
like crumpled paper,
and we rushed to read it
for clues and explanations
as though it were a discarded
love letter, which in a way it was.

We knelt together over it
with a curious reverence,
our own itchy skins full
of admiration and envy
for that ease of removing yourself,
without the need of water, or wind.

by Martha Christina

We’ve argued again,
and the house is cold.

I turn up the thermostat,
for the reassuring click,
relief vibrating up
through the soles
of my stockinged feet.

If the old furnace should fail me,
I’d work hard to find
another source of heat,
pull boots on
over my broken toe
and raise a cold-handled ax
to the wood balanced
on the chopping block.

Some things
aren’t worth
having to work hard at,
but heat
and love
aren’t among them.


Martha Christina lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, where she previously
taught at Roger Williams University.  Her work appeared recently or is
forthcoming in
Crab Orchard Review, Tar River Poetry, Brevities,
Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
What’s Worth It