Tag Archives: reptile

She Hates Numbers

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the gecko, a poem

illustration gecko 2

The Gecko

The gecko guards the stairs, clinging
wraithlike to the top step, and his small

supple body is curved like the mythic
salamander of old, his shape erotic,

gently sexual in a way I once
feared; even though he does not

move, he glows with movement in every
limb. As I slide by, his jeweled

eyes startle, and he scurries past
my foot, the tender fleshiness of his hide

taking the memory of love with it.
Long ago, I would have gasped

to see him near, my pulse racing;
I would have missed such beauty,

the shadowed pattern of pigment he
wears so thoughtlessly, the graceful way

he runs, undulating like a silk
scarf in a soft summer wind.

In the doorway, he stops, watching me,
wondering if I want to eat him.

Don’t be afraid, I say silently.
Let me see you for a bit longer.

I want to marvel over the mixed
colors of your iris, the iridescent

swell of reflected light, framing
this knowing miracle; the end of youth.


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chameleon, a poem

illustration chameleon green-anole-lizard-00021


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.


Filed under poetry