She fed her scaly cold-blooded heart
not unlike an embosomed snake
at first a week or so apart,
digesting each victim slowly to slake
her viper’s natural hunger,
eating only little mousy meals
which she happened to find among her
vale, between her two rounded hills
where the dark, dreaded damning drumbeat
coaxed onward her serpent’s appetite
for more blood, more bone, more meek meat,
given, in time, more often, every other night.
And yet, she inevitably began to wonder
at her Quetzacoatl heart’s growing needs
as its restless rhythm became as thunder
and feared it would eventually bite the hand that feeds
and die itself of the poison it bleeds,
and die itself of the poison it breeds.
The shrike: the butcher bird with its bloody beak
impaling prey on the thorn-borne crown of Christ
so it may decorate its nest with the mangled meek
and rationalize every era’s ghastly zeitgeist.