Shedding Skin

I just watched a snake shed his skin.
He peeled himself out of it
or it off himself with muscular movements
the old skin lying in the sand
shapes of scales and lines and traces
of what he was.
As he emerged, he came alive in a way
I haven’t seen him be alive before.
He moved like a dancer, a swimmer, a hunter.
His face gleamed, the new scales
were pearls, varnished sand, polished terracotta.
Keen to all signs of life, tongue flicking
for smells and flavour, eyes shining.
He was curious.
I’ve taken his shed skin away now.
He doesn’t need it.
I might keep it.
It’s rolled up small, though it’s long,
with even his eyeholes in one piece.
The shed skin is a small impossible, possible thing.
Thinner than a piece of paper that’s
too valuable to be written on.

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