Now she is the color of lichen-splattered bark,
not brown, not gray, not silver — without turning
her head, her small alarmed eye rotates in full
orbit, sweeping me from head to toe, a cruel, knowing
assessment… I don’t measure up, I can tell
from her expression. I wait, wanting to see her
go green, that hot, bright jewel color she does so well.
She creeps down the trunk, movements slow, smooth,
almost invisible. From time to time, she glances
my way; then an ant catches her attention.
Her nimble, rolling eye follows the tiny creature
crawling back past her tail — still afraid of me,
she doesn’t give chase. Off her long hind paw
dangles a limp glove of molted skin. In annoyance,
she curves sleek head toward delicate toes and bites;
she chews the dry scales, then swallows. Her throat
is pale, silken white; her fat tongue glossy pink.
Minutes pass — she pretends to sleep; the eye
closest to me closes, but the other stays wide.
A large iridescent fly alights on the leaves below;
suddenly she flings herself into the air, slender limbs
flared outward, mouth already open, and twists her head
to one side, shaking the insect clamped in her jaws,
the better to subdue it. I breathe faster as she grows
pale, paler, then glows so tender just for me
in the shadows, the clear green seeping down from her
low forehead as a shy leaf unfolds in early spring.