©2019 by Stephen Schwei

              Python

On the edge of a tribal village,

Tarzan furtively drops from the trees,

freezing mid-step

as a startled python

snaps to attention,

coiling its massive length,

and lunges for the jungle man,

encircling his bare legs and torso,

sweeping him quickly off his feet,

and clutching him so tightly

that Tarzan lets out a gasp,

his lungs compressed,

his ribs trying to shield his organs.

The python squeezes tighter,

Tarzan straining to survive

as native men look on helplessly.

Tarzan summons his declining strength

to pry himself loose from the clutches

while keeping the deadly fangs

from sinking into his flesh.

The jungle man expands his chest,

giving the snake its first warning

it will not capture its prey easily.

Expanding his muscles only an inch

allows more air into his lungs

providing an instant of strength

to match the power

of the snake’s deadly embrace.

Tarzan’s arms ripple,

his face in a taut grimace,

as he pries the python enough

to grab his knife

and plunge it

from inside the snake’s grip,

time after time,

each blow weakening the stranglehold

a little more.

The struggling pair

roll in the dirt

as everyone watches, stunned.

Tarzan slowly

steals the life

of his attacker.

Tarzan lies still,

gasping for air,

as native boys

unwrap the huge python

and tend to the recovering victor.

  • Tarzan is a trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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