Snakes in the Drains
It started with our neighbors hissing
about the water in their sink.
First hot and then the cold went missing.
Instead came snakes, which one can’t drink.
You don’t like snakes. It made you simmer
to think they might swim in for dinner.
What would the next day bring? we asked.
It brought a snake. And there it basked
a gleaming coil, most offensive.
You went and fetched our camping axe,
dispatched it with a couple whacks.
But six months later you’re still pensive.
You still don’t like snakes, but I guess
you like to kill them even less.
Ms. Corrigan has the following to say about “Snakes in the Drains”: The first few drafts were written as a free verse poem called “The Little Hatchet.” I thought I had something but it wasn’t quite as alive on the page as it was in my imagination. Then in 2011 I learned about the Onegin stanza, aka the Pushkin sonnet. Something about the form–the tetrameter and the oddball rhyme scheme, I suppose–resonated with me. I was able to rework this poem into the form fairly quickly. When I was finished it jumped off the page more than the earlier free verse versions had. It also felt like a much greater success than any of my prior attempts with traditional sonnet forms. I don’t know, maybe I’m not a serious enough person for pentameter. Anyway, I’ve written several more Pushkin sonnets since, always with delight, but this one remains my breakthrough and my favorite. It recently was not selected for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award.
Dawn Corrigan has published poems and prose in a number of print and online journals including 14 by 14, Chiron Review, Contemporary Rhyme, Exquisite Corpse, The Paris Review and Poetry. “Feature Presentation,” a Pushkin sonnet about HBO’s 1980s movie intro, recently appeared at Poydras Review. She lives in Gulf Breeze, Florida and works as Assistant Operations Manager of the Pensacola Housing Department.