Greater short-horned lizard
Greater than regal, shorter than a penguin
I am a lizard, goddammit, and I won’t take your
caesar salad because I am a moral reptile,
not an amphibian, the jerks.
My cousin, the pygmy short-horned lizard
is actually a gypsy named Steven. He is smaller
than me because I am a woman. When I was young
Steven used to steal larvae off my snout
and kick me in my vent. He sold my mother
on a desert trail outside of Sioux Falls
to a bunch of prairie dogs.
It’s very hard to be a woman
sitting and waiting for ants to eat
or the occasional grasshopper and the coyote
I shoot blood out my eyeballs at.
I fell in love with a fox named Justas.
His name sounded foreign, very post-soviet block.
He left me because I shot blood out my eyeballs
at him whenever he tried to feed me to his friends
at his desert rave parties. Did you know
I am a Buddhist? I believe in reincarnation.
At night I scream:
O’ cruel world, let the buzzards eat me, pick my thorns off
my back. Take me away to the other side, where I can come
back as the regal beaver! and I burn incense inside a cave.
That species, the beaver, is rarely described that way. I haven’t
the faintest idea why I love dams
so much more furnished and warm than this damn
Rock, I am pregnant. I will give birth this season
to between 5 and 48 offspring. Rock, this is the place I live
and is also my lover’s name. Sorry for the confusion.
I am a reptile not an amphibian, my name is Susan.
Call on me, Rock, I am so lonely and never that far away.
Jake Levine is a professor of composition at Sejong University. He is a Fulbright Scholar and Poetry Editor at Spork. He loves mammals and cactus fruits and vegetables.