by alyssa hanna


for all the talk of the snake’s destructive power, how they swarm through the forest, you’d think i’d be able to find at least one here. locals claim they’re always here, but look like vines. but every vine and branch i can currently see is faceless; if they have eyes they must be shut. bad metaphor. snakes do not have eyelids.


forgot to title: searching for boiga irregularis in guam at night after consulting with locals, january 8, 2016. will come up with a better title later.


a little after midnight now. i started at 11 but i feel like i’ve been here for days. but it’s way too quiet. they said the most damage was done where there used to be birdsong but now is silent. it’s definitely silent.


the fog of the mosquitos is thicker than the last time i was here. the mass avian extinction is showing its effects. still no boiga.


about 12:30. my eyes are getting heavy. if i don’t find a boiga soon i’m going to have to call it a night and head back to the facility. they say this place is a haven for them, but where the fuck heck are they?


almost 1. finally found a colubrid. olive in color, lighter than most. i think that’s why i found it. although it’s light, it’s definitely a boiga; all back teeth seem present and intact. it’s definitely pretty young, full of energy, despite the apparent bulge in its stomach due to a very recent meal. only 3 feet 6 inches long. forgot metric ruler. convert to metric later. need to stop forgetting things.


scanned for radiochip: none found. placed small transmitter a few ventral scales above the cloaca. male. he’s certainly not having any of this. mouth is open, trying his best to bite me. he seems more scared than anything. he doesn’t know that i’m going to let him go. he also doesn’t know he will be culled after he is tracked for a week.




release successful, no envenomation. he faced me after i released him, hissed with fury, then shot up the nearest tree. strange behavior regardless of age. i can hear him flying through all the way to the top of the canopy.


january 9, follow up on boiga caught previous evening

remembered to title this time.


11pm: returned to spot where i found the snake last night. no snakes, very silent. another long night.


12am: one lizard spotted. ran before i could record species, size, length, etc. small, most likely part of the boiga’s diet here.


1am: no wildlife other than a curtain of mosquitos and drosophila.



2am: if i were a superstitious man, i would think the snake from last night warned all of the other creatures: man is coming. don’t let him find you.

About the Author

alyssa hanna's poems have appeared in Reed Magazine, The Mid-American Review, The Naugatuck River Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, Rust + Moth, Pidgeonholes, and others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for Best of the Net, was a finalist in the 2017 James Wright Poetry Competition, and a semi-finalist for The Hellebore scholarship. alyssa is a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine and works as a copywriter by day. She lives in New York with her three lizards. follow her @alyssawaking on twitter, instagram, and ko-fi.

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#thesideshow| Micro-poetry| October 2019