Life has thrown my boxes into the street: the good years, men I
wore like petticoats, sweet playthings.
The bright red dress of September now fitted and filled by a new body.
Young and hissing like the croaking-lizard that slinks in red-throated
through the burglar-bars at night, bold in his stasis, laughing at me.
Many nights I have come with a boot or a broom,
often I have even mangled his tail. And still the lizard returns, his
old self sloughed off, ghost a perfect paperweight.
My hands are the first to go-- the skin split dry and mottling, like
croton left to perish in too much sun,
its leaves unpeeling, its browned vessel long forgotten in the yard. The
teeth too have begun to unsettle, egg-grey
and cracking here under stones, under bulbs already dark with knowing
that nothing grew, that here nothing could take root.
Perhaps I too can be renewed, mother and grandmother, one tail after
another I have snuffed out.
But the bone instead has chosen to give way, while wild heliconias mark
their shapes in the hinges. Here, in this room and in the dark
of many other rooms, I make no sense of this silence, how the corners
fill and fill with weeds; nostrils and ears overgrown, my one pink rose
The spotted lizard waits on my meagre life. I watch and he watches,
locked in one gaze, his gold eye fixed, unafraid.