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POEM: boomslang snake with flap-neck chameleon


boomslang snake with flap-neck chameleon

my ex-husband’s drug dealer’s roommate
took me out to the desert one April night
I want to show you something, he said
we walked out through the tall saguaros
they looked like those guards you see
in all the TV shows about London
the ones that nobody can get to smile
over here, he said, look beside this boulder
the moon was bright
even at night the boulder cast a shadow
at first I couldn’t see anything
then I caught some movement in the dark
it was a lizard. a chameleon, to be precise
a flap-neck chameleon moving slowly
almost invisibly, across the desert floor
that’s cool, I said, thanks for showing me
that’s not what I want to show you, he said
and then just like that, out of nowhere
a long bolt of even darker shadow
shot out from the boulder, jaws wide
in a second the front half of the chameleon
was gone, sucked into the snake’s mouth
its back legs flailing wildly in the cool air
I stood there like a stunned mullet
caught completely by surprise
that’s how fast things happen, he said
before you know it, half of you is gone
the other half left there, helpless, flailing
we walked back to the car, not talking
why did you want to show me that, I said
because everyone should see it, he said
so they don’t waste their time

14 April 2013
Auburn, AL

Published in Auburn My poems Poem-A-Day 2013 Poetry


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