Shedding Skin



I don’t find snakeskins anymore,
but I used to as a child-
shed here and there
by some shiny sleek friend
that had already made his way
to a warm and quiet place-
a place rife with primal orders.
Each time I found a snakeskin,
it was like finding a treasure.
Nowadays, I’m in the wild
more than ever,
but there are no snakeskins.

Where have all the snakes gone-
all the treasures?

Have all the wonderful beasts
fallen further into the green-
into the sylvan whorl
that we can only whisper of
in the comfort of our houses
when we’ve spent the day outside,
scratching at the edges?
Have all the good and gentle things
hidden themselves away?

I want to be a creature
that smells of pine and lilacs.
I want to be a beast
that roams the woods and hills
and knows all the names
of the trees, birds, and flowers.
I want to scrape myself
against mossy stones
or the burl of a fallen oak
and shed off the dry tatters
of the creature that I was
and emerge as something new-
gleaming with promise and praise
for the whole green wilderness.
I want to lose myself there
like a quick serpentine ghost
weaving over the loam and detritus-

.               ever darker,

 .                         ever deeper.


~ Nicholas Trandahl
Nicholas Trandahl is a poet and outdoorsman, a veteran and a newspaper reporter who endeavors to write simply and honestly, who appreciates observing natural things and contemplating what he’s seen and done. He currently resides in Wyoming and is the author of two poetry collections, ‘Pulling Words’, and ‘Think of Me’.