Domesticated Green

sweet, tiny creatures
of leathery skin swift,
acting as
familiar as pets

in the afternoon,
I sight a huge gecko,
in sweltering, sweat-warm shade,
in Sarasota FLA,
by a home-community, man-made pond,
basking in heat that is
so comforting, so encompassing

bending over,
I say something to it,
'How ya' doin' there fella? '
or some such countrified nicety

it turns its head,
not in fright, it seems,
but in curiosity;
no scurry to obscurity as I walk around it;
it just sits,
taking in the day
not at all like the skittish lizards
I am used to seeing
from 17 years
of bi-yearly trips here

I ask my parents about it, later,
'Oh, yeah,
some of them are very friendly, '
they say

that night
with childlike delight,
I stumble on a sleeping
planted on a stuccoed window sill,
eyes glazed,
slumbering deeply

(this is a rarity,
a delicacy;
I have never encountered a sleeping amphibian)

willful, human child-man that I am,
I wake him as I pass,
speaking a nighttime cordiality

in groggy, nocturnal
he lifts his head
and pokes the air with his nose,
sniffing out the intruder,
then, unmoving,
lazily writes me off
as I walk on my way

domesticated green

by Marc Mannheimer

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