Satyaki Kanjilal



Last noon I killed a snake,

out of fear, in the middle of my lawn.


It was a thing of beauty,

stripes of black, yellow, resplendent copper.


There was a rustle in the bushes,

I looked up, Neruda open on my lap.


Its hood raised among

Chrysanthemum shrubs,

looking for prey, perhaps.


Dropped Neruda. Grabbed a stick.


It crept out in the open


the green palm leaves

the storm had gifted

on my lawn.


Kill it. It’s poisonous.

It bites. Do it. Do it fast.

The deed was done.


Red-stained, rope-like


dangling on the stick—


disappeared in

dumpster debris.


I picked up Neruda


read out loud,

“Do you remember when

in winter

we reached the island?”

and sipped a lager;

its bitterness

lingered on my tongue. 




Satyaki Kanjilal is studying creative writing at Florida International University and has a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Nevada-Reno. When he is not complaining about his writer’s block, Satyaki or Nemo, as his friends call him, likes to watch television shows and study how their plots work. He is often sad to hear people talk about the fish from Disney’s movie Finding Nemo, and not Jules Verne’s character “Captain Nemo,” when they hear his nickname.

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