The Pegasus Prize
History of the Black Hose
It loops across the yard and coils into the kale,
slithers beneath the rose and through the snapdragons and verbena,
winds along the base of clematis and wisteria.
This garden hose was not always a hose.
This time last year it was the black rat snake
being jostled down from the high story of the neighbor’s tree
by the piercing squawks of a frenzy of blue jays.
Had it stolen an egg, nabbed a chick?
Lowered its ropy drape from the thick arms of ironwood
to slink slow along the top of the fence,
then slide out of sight on the other side, out, out
into the pucker mud and spartina stalks of the low tide marsh,
the jays still following like a jabber blue halo.
Perhaps the hose is remembering that flash of indigo and anger
even now as I water, holding it just behind the head,
daring even to poke my thumb into its mouth,
an indignity that makes it writhe,
then spew all the colors of the spectrum.