The Snake Still Has Fangs

A.H. Starlingsson
2 min readNov 4, 2021

I stood on the cusp of death and destruction, at the edge of a field. In the silence a polite old Bosnian advised me not to step into the long grass. Sure, he’d said, the bodies are long, long gone, but there are poisonous snakes that still inhabit the undergrowth. And snakes kill.

26 years ago the Bosnian Serb army of irregular serpents massacred well over 8,000 Bosnian men and boys here, but not before drinking with the Dutch battalion officers stationed there the night prior to the mass murder. A Dutch battalion there to protect Bosnian civilians.

Instead Serbs used their help to separate the males from females. Snake food from non-snake food.

26 years later, today, I found out after the mass murder the Dutch troops partied, performing a conga, snaking their path in a long, trailing line, happy were they to leave Srebrenica. I have no words.

the snake still has fangs
the poison has not left this blood of ours
that cleanses from heart to mind
the snake strikes, still
and strikes, still, at will

Written for dversepoets. In this post, Bjorn points at Conceit as a method used in poems alongside the imagery of metaphors. The conceit is the underpinning allegory or what reaches out from the poem and geabs. The link explains in far, far better terms.



A.H. Starlingsson

—dispatches from Ukraine🌲currently writing "Distant Taps The Woodpecker,* Mastodon contact: starlingsson@gmail.com_