the clock strikes three with the bitter hiss of

a serpent slipping through the the pipes & cracks in these

old paper walls,

torn & sullied &

brittle like papyrus

like chipped paint in on the decaying manor facade as the

snake slides past & up & under

broken beds & broken lovers to

you & your dead still form & it

strikes that beating thing inside your chest

& asks,

"dear child,

can you suck the poison out?"