Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland
Marjorie Maddox

Evenings, they rent
out. Wedding reception
guests winding in
and out between glass cages
that reflect back
delight in fearing
its trapped

A martini with the Black Mambas,
hors d’oeuvres with the Indian Pythons,
chicken with the unfried
two-toned arrow-poison frogs
and their nervously twitching legs.

At 10:00, the  bride rides the Aldabra Tortoise,
her long gown wound around her elbow
or flung wildly down, zig-zagging its trail
in dirt transplanted
from some Pennsylvania farm
where optimistic rodents dream
of gulping pit vipers

It is slow going.

Metamorphosis is the vow of the hour,
hanging in the ever-changing air
like an overdone toast
mixed with Twisted Sister.          

No French-kissing here
in full view of forked tongues
but there’s a tense attempt
when the couples’ lip rings clink
at each rattle of the wine glass.

It is all the Common Iguana can do
to not smirk when the tattooed groom
tries to smile, line-dancing his way
along Amphibians’ Lane.

Soon everyone sips and hisses;
the quietest drunks leave
their skins behind.

Later, the DJ howls outside
the crocodile pit where four-star acoustics
uncoil the sound
to the local penitentiary
and inmates bet
on accidental deaths.



From Issue 1, Number 1


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