Moccasin

February 12, 2021

This is my body broken for you.

When I was twelve, I was baptized and had my first communion, leaving
me full of promises to be a better boy, starting with my kid brother, who
went with me the next day to spend two weeks with our favorite uncle
and aunt in their elegant new log cabin home above broad lawn terraces
leading down to a wide spill-water from the lake, which came slip-sliding
over the dam on to Georgia red, pink and gray shale feeding into a deep
wide creek where we again went fishing the last day of our visit.

After catching nothing for quite a while, our uncle said there must be
a water moccasin in the creek, and sure enough, that great water snake
came gliding toward us head up as though he were king of the creek,
until our uncle with his marksman’s eye and champion rod and reel,
which he snapped like a whip, snagged the moccasin at its neck,
dragged it to the bank, and in seconds had the head off with his bowie
knife and the torso draped over a low hanging willow branch to bleed out.

“For the fish fry tonight,” he said, knowing that we would soon catch
a string of perch and crappie enough for the party with our parents
and a few neighbors. Later, after the great fry on the huge stone grill
on the lower terrace, my uncle put a piece of snake on my plate and said,
“Tastes like chicken. You’ll love it.” Away from my uncle and his guests,
as I put the snake to my mouth, I heard our pastor’s words at communion
and without hesitation I carried the snake over to the stream that slowly
swam the moccasin down to its home in the creek.