I’ve got it in my gunny sack
the ranger called, then gave a shout
I’ll let it go once you’ve stepped back;
with flicking tongue, a snake slid out.
We spread apart to watch it go.
At first it sped for it had found.
escape, but shifted now to slow
its canny jaw tip-tapped the ground.
We could not know a better route
was what the snake had come upon
but digging quickly with its snout
a hole appeared, and it was gone.
These snakes have senses with a flair
for rodent raceways hid from view
that get them safely everywhere
and thus our snake had used it too.
But no, the snake backed out instead
as fast as it had gone away,
first tail, then body, lastly head
and in its mouth, some squirming prey.
Those shifting jaws inched on until
its mouth around the gopher closed.
The lump within the throat was still
and yet it moved, its fate foreclosed.
Below the surface runs the race
that winds unseen from seeking eyes
where rodents scurry place to place
and snakes will go to grab their prize.
Such creatures do not venture far
outside their predatory haunts.
Though snakes care nothing what they are,
each knows exactly what it wants