Don’t Tread On Me

What’s sharper than a serpent’s tooth?
And no, it’s not ungrateful youth.
I’m serious: Tell, if you can,
What’s literally sharper than
A serpent’s tooth? Can’t answer yet?
It’s venomous, plus also wet,
And travels with a real, live shark
Attached to it, and leaves a mark
That’s vaguely Y-shaped where it strikes
(A monogram that stands for “Yikes!”).
Give up? Well, as I learned today,
The answer is Haller’s Round Ray,
Or Urolophus halleri,
Named after some poor kid when he
Was barbed in San Diego Bay
Not far from where I swam today
Just south of PB’s Crystal Pier–
It’s beautiful; wish you were here!
But if you come, a tip from me:
Don’t walk like you’re on land, in sea,
But slide your feet from spot to spot.
I mostly do, but I forgot
This morning. Then the barb went in.
It won’t soon slip my mind again.
I caught some good waves anyway,
Then boiled my foot, so I’m okay.
But Lear should know: A child’s curse
May sting, but stingray barbs are worse.

Feast Of Reason

Note: I’m under strictest orders
Not to test the tasteful borders
Ringing what’s appropriate
For blessings. I’ve said nothing yet
(I think) that might approach the line–
Just keep it short, and I’ll be fine.

Tales of Galliforme revenge,
Like turkeys on a man-flesh binge,
Are out. Don’t even bother asking.
Likewise, elders hidden-flasking
Then dispensing rude advice
To captive younger folk: Not nice.

Perhaps it’s safest not to mention
Turkey-tasting cats; detention
Likely waits for we who write
Of mishaps lately hid from sight–
Ingredients mistaken or
Left out of meals from years before.

I think perhaps the safest path
To joy–or just avoiding wrath–
Is training our Thanksgiving focus
On the people in our locus
(Note: No “t”; it’s not a bug).
You can’t go wrong with words like “hug.”

So that, then, is my strategy.
Will I achieve success? We’ll see.
But that’s irrelevant, because
Though soon this tryptophanic buzz
Wears off, not so the love of friends
And family. That never ends.

Give thanks, aloud or in your mind,
For those here now, and those behind
The veil of absence whom we miss,
For those we hold, and scold, and kiss,
For those we someday hope to meet,
And those we never will.
Let’s eat.

Quoth St. Stephen

My toenails are an unattractive
Lot, a sad, objective fact of
Which I’m all too well aware.
It’s why my feet are rarely bare
In places squeamish people lurk
Like public markets, church and work.
They’re not all bad–most folks are fine
With viewing seven, eight or nine,
But pupils cheer in Hades when
A witness wincelessly sees ten,
So he who keeps his dinner down
Shall be rewarded with a crown
To wear upon the Feast of Steve
(That’s two days after Christmas Eve);
If no one’s perfect, he who least
Is winceful headlines at the Feast
Of Stephen’s Stoning–(Drugs are wrong!)
To lead the festal folk in song:

Good King Winces Less looked out
On the feets of Stephen
Whilst his toe waved round about,
Cruelly twisted, even….