Chris Runcible


Snakeskin Sheets

Goose-down quilt
has a pretty lilt.
And I love the billow
of a feather pillow.
A rayon spread
dignifies a bed.
But nothing competes
with snakeskin sheets.

Light and airy
with a scent of the prairie,
they ripple in a breeze
like aspen trees.
Check the patterned track
of that diamondback!
The nub at the end?
That’s the rattle, friend.

The gals are quick
to say, “Gross!” and “Sick!”
“Perverted!” “Pathetic!”
“—Just a badlands esthetic,”
I tease them back.
“Care to jump in the sack?”
Then it’s “Yech!” and “Ewww!”
But mostly they do.


Chris Runcible grew up in a culture obsessed with quiz shows, UFOs, and hula hoops. His flair for flipping Davy Crockett cards made him powerful enemies in the schoolyard, but a madcap sense of humor inherited from his Scottish forebears helped see him through. In high school, he developed a passion for Boolean algebra that resonated poorly with his older brothers and their respective street gangs. Cruelly harassed, he removed from the Bronx to Staten Island, where, enrolling in night school, he came under the tutelage of surrealist poet and pool shark Bill Zavatsky. Zavatsky, for a lark, introduced him to the Kalevala, never imagining that its hypnotic cadences would prompt the young man to dedicate his life to adapting the austere meter of that Finnish verse epic to cowboy poetry.