Lord of Lizards and Other Poems

gecko-lizard-lanre-buraimoh
Painting © 2017 by Lanre Buraimoh

© 2018 by Beate Sigriddaughter

Lord of Lizards

When I am in danger
of forgetting the beauty
of it all, I look at the fence
where I once spotted
a lizard in the sun, quite large,
with turquoise belly skin,
and, on second look,
trapped in fine wire,
unable to move.

We trembled,
as you slowly cut mesh
around the tiny claws,
the scaly neck, the limbs.
It took a long time.
We didn’t expect the lizard
to make it. Still,
you carried it
into the shade.

It didn’t move. We tried
to give it water
when suddenly,
faster than rain
it was already way
across the courtyard,
over the fence. Goodbye.
Never have I loved
anything running away
so much in my life.

If there were anything
to forgive—there wasn’t—
I would have forgiven
you then.


“Lord of Lizards” was first published in Clear Poetry (June 2016) and is part of Beate Sigriddaughter’s collection Xanthippe and Her Friends (Future Cycle Press, 2018)

Anxiety

Horned lizard, young
and concerned
with a flat worried mouth

reminds me how
I hear, and get, the
trendy advice:
Love yourself.

But deep within me
is an ancient fear
that loving myself
simply won’t count.

And God, valiantly
invoked for all purpose
love turns out
to be too distant
for comfort.

Would you please
dance with me, if only
just a little?


“Anxiety” was first published in Cyclamens and Swords (August 2015) and is part of Beate Sigriddaughter’s collection Xanthippe and Her Friends (Future Cycle Press, 2018)

Pablo-picaso-Three-Dancers
20th century painting by Pablo Picaso

Ceremony

This is who I am,
arms crossed, braced
against the morning
cold, waiting for
the sun.

Parts of me long
to kneel
to pray, to spread
my arms
wide open in
some ancient
ritual.

In my many years
on earth
I have not found
a single
ceremony
that does not
discourage
women
or dogs, or both.

Here by the cactus
and shrub oak
all are welcome,
honored. Deer
stroll by,
a raven’s wings
stir the air,
and, yes,
from time to time
a neighbor’s dog,
tan, saunters
into morning.

Then suddenly the sun
pierces the hill
on the horizon,
as always brilliantly
indifferent.

And so I vow
to do my breathless
best with all
this beauty
and exuberance.

Even in winter
I stand, casual
hands in my pocket,
wool up to my eyes,
still braced against
the world.

But I come
each morning
to pray
like this, for this
is who I am.


“Ceremony” was first published in Dissident Voice (November 2016) and is part of Beate Sigriddaughter’s collection Xanthippe and Her Friends (Future Cycle Press, 2018)

Pieta

I.
A woman at work solicits paperbacks
for our soldiers, especially action/suspense.

I feel for her, wanting to help, yet
here I sit trapped in my white marble grief
for our sons that are always so broken.

Often it feels we lose our men
long before they enlist in their dreams
of glory that we haven’t healed
in more than ten thousand years.

II.
In Papua New Guinea women make a pact
to slay their male babies, as there seems
to be no other way to stop a brutal war
of already far too many generations.

At this point men in the west are crying “murder.”
Would you rather wait till they all grow up
and kill each other properly?

III.
In Israel they are willing to imprison
high school kids who do not want to
kill and do not want to die.

IV.
You say it is too difficult to simply withdraw
and let go of righteous dreams.
You say I don’t understand the staggering
complexities.

Do you believe that it is easier to simply die?

V.
Come home, my love, and live.

I want you in the fields beside me,
not huddling in far-away trenches. I want you
to climb with me the narrow path toward
intelligence with its dangerous cliffs
and its breathtaking vistas.

I don’t want you on my lap,
broken for any reason.

Come home, my son, my brother,
my father, my husband.
Come home, my love, and live.


“Pieta” was first published in Poets Against War, Canada (November 2012) and is part of Beate Sigriddaughter’s collection Xanthippe and Her Friends (Future Cycle Press, 2018)

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