Lizards

Aspidoscelis exsanguis
Chihuahuan spotted whiptail
Richard Green

Te veo, lagarto, tomando el sol
on that stone wall that marks my place
in these greasewood colinas.

Your place es donde quieres
in this spiny world, so you bask
on my wall con wary confianza.

¡Ay Chihuahua, tan bonito eres!
those yellow stripes and pale spots
como una bandera de stars y stripes,

and that tail como un látigo de vaquero
shining in the afternoon sun.
No puedo dejar de admirarte.

Dicen que tú eres un ectotherm,
y yo, yo soy un endotherm,
They say que tú eres un sauropsid,

and me, I’m a synapsid.
¡Qué tan diferentes somos!
Then I think how much we share—

a love of sun, need for shade,
algunas proteínas, although
I draw the line at arañas

and find moths a little dry.
De veras, I can’t clone myself,
and I lost my tail long ago

and couldn’t grow it back,
como puedes tú
after leaving yours

in the beak of a roadrunner.
Pero we each have a spine,
five digits on our four limbs,

a gut, dos ojos and a brain—
that old reptilian brain that keeps us going
through tiempos difíciles y fáciles.

Crees, primo lagarto, about that time
en que nos separamos
all those eons ago?

Somehow we went our different ways,
necesidades diferentes, I guess, y
cambiamos to fit in our new worlds.

Are you not astonished, mi primo,
a pensar en lo que we’ve been through?
We barely made it through the

Permian mass extinction,
y entonces we survived the Mesozoic
cuando murieron all the dinosaurs.

Enjoy the sun, amigo,
tenemos mucho que hablar
before the next Big One comes.

In Spiral Orb, the Literary Inventory of the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks
Spiral Orb

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