Snake in the Grass

Short Story – Donna Lafollette

“Oh, am I sick! I just can’t keep this up. I think I’m going to puke,” I thought, as my second hour juniors passed forward their essays on Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.” Finally, the bell rang to end class, and I dashed from my second floor room to the restroom on the first floor. “I can’t keep racing down here,” I moaned, as I watched the remains of my chili lunch swirl away from me. “I’m going home!”

After I reported to the office, I grabbed my London Fog raincoat, jotted down some hurried notes on a Post-It for the sub, and trudged to my yellow Volkswagen bug. The thought — Yellow Bug — brought burning bile bubbling into my throat.

When I finally got home, I pulled into the gravel driveway, parked the car, opened the door, and dragged myself toward the front door of my house. Then I froze. There in my path coiled a slimy, green snake. To me it looked as big as a boa basking in the warm April sun. But, worst of all, it barred my way to the house. What could I do? Repulsion shivered over my body like a prickly, cold rain, but I had to slay the evil enemy that lay in my way. I raced to the barn to get a sharp hoe but stopped. I couldn’t do that: raise the hoe high in the air, swing it down, and chop through its green slithery neck sending its red blood everywhere. Bile again seared my throat.

Snake in the Grass
Snake in the Grass

Back to the car I dashed. I revved the engine and sped through the yard toward the snake. I’d run it down! Ignoring the deep ruts in the damp earth, I made several passes at my reptilian foe. Suddenly, realized I didn’t know if the snake was dead or not. It could be lurking right outside my car door. What was I to do? Would I step on it if I got out of the car? With a flash of genius, I drove right up to the front stoop of the house, opened the car door, leaped out, and darted inside. Safe at last!

Much later, when my husband arrived home, he spied the furrows in the yard and the Volkswagen with its door ajar. He ran to move the car, but when he cranked the key that I had left in the ignition, the engine ground and barely turned over. Then, just a click. I hadn’t slaughtered the monster snake, but I had butchered the battery.


True Family Story

Short Story – Donna Lafollette

 Mom bred Great Dane puppies with Moose and Gypsy

Marla & me with the Great Dane, Moose

She could always see beauties 

February 9, 2010

Life‘s Beauties

I have looked disappointment

In the face, and

Salty tears have streaked my cheeks

With black mascara.

Yet, I have seen Gypsy’s

Harlequin pups, and

Wipe the afterbirth

From a pinkish white kitten.

In my blue dotted Swiss dress,

I posed for an Easter snapshot

While I clutched my dad‘s hand.

I stood under a bright street light

And giggled as my grandfather

Kissed Helen and gave her

A twinkling diamond.

Etched in my memory is a picture

Of a white Casper face, and

When the mask was gone, the

Smile stayed the same.

I remember a little flower girl

In pink discoing to “The Wedding March,”

And counting those in attendance.

Erased are the bitter disappointment.

I have seen such beauty.



By Donna S. LaFollette   


Series of Five Poems by my Mom



Entry 5

I know something about you

by Donna LaFollette

I know something about you –
I know your stomach growled last night
Because the refrigerator was bare.
I know the frozen dinner you fixed
that Monday night
You ate with Homer Simpson
While cross-legged on the floor


I know something about your –
I know you had a story to tell
And no one was there.
I know you tucked yourself in bed
And Jumped at imagined, lurking dangers.

I know something about you –
I know you let yourself in the door
And thought of excused for not doing math.
I know you were alone.
No on asked, “Sweetie, how was School?”


I know something about you –
I know you’re bruised
And Ache at times.
I know you’ve helped a parent stumble into bed
And hoped this drunk wouldn’t awaken.


I know something about your –
But I don’t know what to do.
I teach you ‘i’ before ‘e’




Series of Five Poems by my Mom


Entry 4

Harvest of the Night

by Donna LaFollette

Rises from the horizon
Like a blanket
Enveloping me in darkness.
I closed my eyes to wait for sleep,
But rest eludes me like a red fox
Running from the hounds.
My mind dances and darts
Around the day
And plots for the next.
Twisting the sheets into a knot,
I toss and tumble.
Lessons and list form.
Witty sayings and smart responses
To imagine voices fleck silently
From my tongue – so clever in the dark.
Lines of prize-winning poetry
Pulsate through my dreams.
Then rousing rays of sun
Slip through my window,
Diluting the harvest of the Night.


Link: Mom’s Facebook Page