Song for a Lucertola

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Mighty lizard of the walls, you have the heft
of an alligator, even though you are no more
than eight inches long, in disguise

on the trunk of an olive tree, below the cleft
into branching arms, motionless predator,
like your cousin of the swamp, with the heft

to snatch up in one fell gulp an innocent tidbit
traveling down the bark, or in the case of the gator,
swimming upstream. You lie in disguise

but don’t fool me. I may be bereft
of friends, but every day for four
days, lizard of the ruins, I have kept

my eye on you, watched as you grow fat
sometimes on your own kind. With one roar
I can knock you out of your olive disguise,

my pied beauty, with emerald back and drab vest,
known in Greece for your agile feet, poor
mighty one, who thinks to have a gator’s heft,
I know you, as my mother said, even in disguise.

Lucertola: lizard.