After the War

by Ashley Mares

“Now the Serpent was more crafty
than any other beast of the field
the Lord God has made.” – Genesis 3:1

He complimented me for having
only one skin. I smiled
and pointed to
my bruised body
and said
look at all the ways
my body is healing itself.

He said he’s familiar
with the feeling – the falling
from sky
to earth.

Except his body
doesn’t show
pain. He said

my bones are kept
beyond hope. This
is the way it will be –

bones as pale as
pearls. He said

I can be the one
that lets him in – my
ribs have the same
curvature as
his body. We’re
the same. He

can allow his body
to curl up beneath my
lungs. He promised
breath wouldn’t be
hard to grasp. When

I lined my ribs with
salt his split tongue
licked it off and he
smiled. He asked

if I feel the pull
of my soul – the climbing
up the walls. Seeing

the names of the
dead. He said
I too can shed
my soul. I

whisper I can
feel them coming
for me.

Ashley Mares has poetry that has appeared or is forthcoming in Menacing Hedge, Whale Road Review, Rogue Agent, Hermeneutic Chaos, Whiskey Island, The Indianola Review, White Stag, and others. She is currently completing her J.D. in Monterey, Ca, where she lives with her husband. Read more of her poetry at and follow her @ash_mares2.

Photo credit: Sally Crossthwaite via Flickr, All Creative Commons

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