Portrait of the Self as Exoskeleton

Though there's no known antivenom for its bite,
of course the African bush viper won't hesitate to sink

its fangs into your flesh. Trouble the waters, 
and reap what its boiling flings upon the sand.

Near-naked bodies of hermit crabs scurry to find
the shell of some abandoned bunker, cell,  or

cathedral. It's how we are under the straitjacket—
all soft, exposed flesh; the need for prime 

real estate and mid-century modern. 
The deals we'll make in the night 

with ourselves; the way one side opens
a wary eye while the other sleeps.

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