Chasing Lizards by Julie Mahfood

I have spent my married life chasing lizards, says the man,
his thin, brown fingers
smoothing down his tie.
His wife beside him nods
emphatically: It’s true,
she says,
I cannot stand them in the house.

I wonder at the couple’s close proximity,
marvel they have time for conversation at all.
Six strapping sons
and one daughter.
How did they squeeze these in
between catching small reptiles?

I picture the woman pregnant,
her long, dark belly before her,
a glass of ginger beer in hand:
Get that fat black one there!
He’s fixed me with his beady eye.
How did his body get so dark?
Mind that croaking lizard;
his swelled throat
(orange, blue, pale yellow)
will give me a miscarriage!

And the man, an academic,
jogging shoes on feet, gun in hand
or fly swatter, running after lizards.
He chases them out the door,
calls to his wife:
Precious! I got one more.

Shelves filled with these trophies.


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