Katherine Gekker

“O, My Charmer, Spare Me” *

You sewed my mouth as good as shut.
Defanged & starved me. Milked my venom
sacs empty but left a hole barely big
enough for my tongue to flicker through
& frighten gawkers.
                              I don’t exist to entertain.
Before you snared me, tortured me, my mate & I
twined against warm stones. Our bodies a single
pulse, a one-syllable word.
                                       Didn’t I spread
my full twelve feet beside a pond? Curl in tree
            Yes, & on occasion, gulp my
own eggs? Eat my own kind?
                                          Your basket can’t
contain me, potions you brewed from my poisons
won’t heal you. I uncoil, my hood flares. You
forget I can regrow my fangs, charmer.

*Title of a Louis Moreau Gottschalk song

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Katherine Gekker is the author of In Search of Warm Breathing Things (Glass Lyre Press).
Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. She serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Delmarva Review. Gekker’s poems, collectively called “…to Cast a Shadow Again,” have been set to music by composer Eric Ewazen. Composer Carson Cooman has set a seasonal cycle of her poems, “Chasing the Moon Down,” to music. Gekker was born in Washington, DC. She founded a commercial printing company in 1974 and sold it thirty-one years later. She lives with her wife in Arlington, Virginia, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.