the years they slough off the flesh
dead or alive, from the inside or out
leaving in their wake some hollow gap,
like snakeskin and memories of
what once wasn’t, this life of shedding,
but we are wont to find the skin
and not the snake, not anew, instead
to hold the old like some carvernous carcass
as if to mourn a death that isn’t dead,
and we must seem silly to those who
savor the secret that there’s succession,
but they do not know, perhaps forgotten,
what it was to lose their skin
until, in time, theirs comes again,
the years that they would slough away
in sweet procession.

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