26 years ago today i crawled out of a hole in the ground a farmer’s hound had dug the night prior. i spent my childhood in a lab being examined by tall men in white coats. they gave me a Chewy bar when i was good, and a Nature Valley bar when i was bad. when i felt i was old enough i shed my first layer of scales, bid my father figures a farewell, and hit the road with only a tuxedo and top hat to show for. it was a mistake. i miss the lab. i decided to slither back to the hole from whence i came only to discover it had been vandalized by teenagers on bicycles. they wrote, “this is where that stupid worm thing came out of,” with a big red arrow pointing to my hallowed cavity. self conscious somebody might see me slip back into the soil which bore me, i pulled a 180° and headed out west. unfamiliar with how directions worked i wound up out east. now here i sit, all tired but still awake, with a hole where the heart was, and the skin of a snake, slipping away in rock bottom again, with only my bottle, no birthday cake.