They say we come into the world afraid
of snakes no matter whether venomous
or not. Avoidance is the way we’re made
although this truth may have eluded us.
In ignorance we may have thought our fear
a lack of fortitude or a moral flaw.
But now we know about the hiss we hear.
Our shuddering conforms to natural law.
Today I walked along a country road
encountering a lifeless coil. I said
“I’m not afraid” as feet unbidden showed
a path that led around a snake so dead.
It’s strange the way instinctive dread persists
long after natural foes no more exist.