The Woman and the Serpent

I prize the taste of this rare fruit
above the sting of carnal knowledge:

the tang
of these teeth
as they pierce, then sink
like lodestone
in the deep,

I learned to breathe underwater
for the sake of our joining. I wonder,

do serpents
take their lovers
home for tea?

Since to live I must pass this poison
on to another – or so I gather –

there will never be
a home here
for me.

Tomorrow Never Comes


The night before we left, I rearranged the dust:
swept it into new corners, left it in rifts

to die. And although good at planning trips,
I’m persistently amidst the forgotten mourners

of the one twist of fate we always fail to trust.


I had to send away for the one seashell
I’d always wanted–so rare that it cost
a small fortune, but this tale ends as well
as it must. Salt in lieu of what I’ve lost.


The morning I left, I scraped all the rust
off the doorknobs, canceled my options

on those dumb jobs. What is there for me if
nothing will come to me now? I’m drifting

away from your shore. Just stay or be gone.


I had to send away
for a skin-thick sail
to patch my wings.

“The Woman and the Serpent” and “Tomorrow Never Comes” appear in The Dishonesty of DreamsReprinted with permission.

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A.J. Odasso
A.J. Odasso's poetry has appeared in a number of strange and wonderful publications, including Sybil's GarageMythic DeliriumJabberwockyCabinet des FéesMidnight EchoNot One of UsDreams & NightmaresGoblin FruitStrange HorizonsStone TellingFarrago's WainscotThrough the GateLiminalityinkscrawlBattersea Review, and SWAMP (just to name a few). Her début collection, Lost Books (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2010), was nominated for the 2010 London New Poetry Award and for the 2011 Forward Prize, and was also a finalist for the 2011 People's Book Prize. Her second collection with Flipped Eye, The Dishonesty of Dreams, was released in August of 2014. Her two chapbooks, Devil's Road Down and Wanderlust, are available from Maverick Duck Press. She has been serving as Senior Poetry Editor at Strange Horizons magazine since 2012. She holds degrees from Wellesley College and the University of York (UK), and she is currently an MFA candidate and Teaching Fellow in Poetry at BU. You can find her on LiveJournal: