by C.S. Fuqua

He lay halfway across the road,
mistakable as a stick
except for the head and rattles,
soaking up the asphalt’s warmth.
I got out of the pickup
and crept to within a dozen feet,
stomped the ground,
tossed a pebble close to him
but all he did was taste the air
and slide slowly away,
those rattles silent.
I watched until he’d blended
into the undergrowth beyond the road,
then drove on,
out of the woods,
back to where few
ignore a challenge.

C.S. Fuqua’s books include White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, Volume I, The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, Rise Up (short fiction collection), Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale, Trust Walk (short fiction collection), The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, and Notes to My Becca, among others. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as The Christian Science Monitor, Naval History, Main Street Rag, and Year’s Best Horror Stories. For more information, free offers, music, and more, please visit