Milking the Tiger Snake

by John Kinsella

Read by Emma Rye

http://vocaroo.com/i/s0DXcF0zW5um

Fangs through a balloon, an orange balloon
stretched over a jam-jar mouth scrubbed-up
bush standard—fangs dripping what looks
like semen, which is venom, one of the most
deadly, down grooves and splish splash
onto the lens of the distorting glass-bottom
boat we look up into, head of tiger
snake pressed flat with the bushman’s
thumb—his scungy hat that did Vietnam,
a bandolier across his matted chest
chocked with cartridges—pistoleer
who takes out ferals with secretive
patriotic agendas. And we kids watch
him draw the head of the fierce snake,
its black body striped yellow. “It will rear
up like a cobra if cornered, and attack,
attack!” he stresses as another couple
of droplets form and plummet. And when
we say, “Mum joked leave them alone
and they’ll go home
,”
he retorts, “Typical
bloody woman, first to moan if she’s bit,
first to want a taste of the anti-venom
that comes of my rooting these black
bastards out, milking them dry, down
to the last drop.” Tiger snake’s eyes
peer out crazily targeting the neck
of the old coot with his dirty mouth,
its nicotine garland. He from whom
we learn, who shows us porno
and tells us what’s what. Or tiger snake
out of the wetlands, whip-cracked
by the whip of itself until its back is broke.