Rattled

Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb

Dan Namingha, Gray Cloud Horizon, Acrylic on Canvas, 30"x40" ©2019

Rattled

It was a nasty little rattle,

well, maybe not so small

or so dreadful but more

loud and vigorous; I know

 

how she feels—threatened

by trespassers, dwelling

disturbed, den most likely

nearby. I am an unwelcome

 

vibration, a heavy-stepping

beast, binoculars focused

upward on winged things

until the diamondback

 

stops me in my tracks,

brings to light my lack

of anticipation that she

would even have a home

 

in the nature preserve;

her presence is everything

I need to remind me

why I flee from tourists,

 

that my overrun town

is not the only show in life.

Excited about the unexpected,

I tell a ranger down the trail

 

but shouldn’t have done so,

for he mistook my meaning,

reassuring me the snake,

a nuisance to visitors, would

 

be removed. As I said, I know

how it feels when your place

is for the benefit of others—

and locals be damned.

Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb’s work has appeared in About Place Journal, Front Range Review, Weber—The Contemporary West, AJN: The American Journal of Nursing, Watershed Review, Wild Earth, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. She has been an educator, a researcher, and an editor, and is co-founder of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Native West Press. Having lived in Prescott, Arizona, for over 20 years, she and her husband feel blessed to dwell in the close company of peccaries, tarantulas, ravens, whiptails, and other high-desert dwellers.