Poem for 9-9-9

Gorgeous poem by Anne Sullivan:

Holding On

I am thinking of them tonight, locked in their embrace,
waters dark and cold. Do they have any warmth
to give each other? Late yesterday, near exhaustion,
they lay in the slough overhung with reed and pond apple,
motionless-gator's jaws clamped on to the python's thick
muscle, python wrapped around the gator's rough trunk.
It started early, morning light slicing water. The python
coiled and writhed, head waving above the fight. The gator
wrestled, then backed from the slough, submerged and swam
through open water-a gator drowns its prey-
but when he surfaced, the python's head lifted, stared him in the eye.
All day it went like that, slough to slough, diving and surfacing,
positions shifting, python wrapped around the gator's snout,
then a lurch, python in the gator's mouth but the head
still lifting. What respect they must have for each other by now.
Neither lets go. Neither is winning. They aren't even fighting.
They lie in the dark and hold on.

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