Everglades in the dry season.
Alligator tracks in mudflats,
mangroves reaching for wet.
A turtle with a red head,
one swallowtail kite,
a brown canal of white birds.
So much itself, so damaged,
but when we are gone
and the river of grass
overtakes the canals, and the sea
takes the highrises and malls
our bones will join the shells
on the shores.
Beside a turquoise pool,
lizards appear and vanish
on the edges of sight,
particles, not waves.
Brown anoles, delicate
and charming wisps of life,
invasive killers, displacers—
so lovely, so terrible.
What could they give me to get me to stay?
No money, surely, no luxurious house.
Not here, this land of traffic and noise
where people live by selling things
and fixing things and cleaning things—
streets and pools and lawns
and the tops of the walls built
to keep out people like themselves
unless they’re cleaning or fixing.
The plastic dinosaurs in the botanical garden
roar above the calling birds.
The screen house is filled with butterflies.
Brown anoles eat them.
Anoles eat everything—their own babies,
their own molted skins, their broken tails.
One climbs an orchid stem,
puffs out his orange throat in threat.
One of the dinosaurs looks like a chicken.
T. rex’s tiny forelimbs are disturbing.
It’s hot, too hot even for Florida in May.