Saying Farwell To Lizards Of The Desert Night


saying farewell to the lizardsI release our lizards

into the garden — wondering

if they will live. The glass cage

offered water, food and refuge

from birds and bigger reptiles.


it provided miniature trees

stones and logs, enough light

and shadow for them to shift

becoming at random

a bird, dragonfly or seal.


What ever one could perceive

through that mirror of silhouettes.


But out here, they’ll become

what they were born to be ,

hunters, escape artists — yet still

it’s uncertain


despite a maze of bushes

to scout, its branches skimmed

by gnats … its leaves


in the dawn glow

sudden wells of rainwater

or dew.


So in this wild house

of crisp scent and soil, I cry

into the night, the desert

and to those lizards

who bear their names:

let the foliage

sustain you


tenacity hug

your tail and feet,

& in the hush of sundown


probe corners hidden

& echoes spun

by spirits of earth and light,


their spit interwoven

with your story and fate.


As writers, we change our voice through personal experience, interaction with others and nature, as well as the progression of age. In time, we do unfold more of our wings , our willingness to take risk and explore those hidden, sometimes forbidden corners of our imagination. In the past few years, I have grown to become more aware of the high desert’s creatures and climate. I have unfolded my reluctance to believe in more than the obvious, a certain indigenous prophecy ( or insight) , even magic, that is possessed by its variety of trees and creatures. In particular, besides ravens, crows and coyotes, the small lizards that have inhabited both my house and garden.

This past summer, several night desert lizards were born somewhere in the walls of our adobe house, We often saw them scampering under the stove, stereo cabinet and other pieces of furniture in our home. Born out their natural environment, they were deprived of honing their instincts, access to water and food. With much patience, my husband and I were able to capture or I should say rescue three of them. With the heat soaring to above 102 degrees outside, we decided to nourish and refuge them inside our living room, to be precise, in a glass tank that provided a virtual habitat with sub strata, miniature trees, stones and logs. Add to that a ceramic pool and specialized dishes of prepared insects, meal worms and salad greens. They survived very well in this setting and grew in size while shedding their skin as healthy lizards must.

With the changing of natural time throughout the day, the interplay of light and shadow, their shapes on a rock, a flattened piece of bark or when wedged between two leaves on a branch, allowed the mind to perceive them in different forms. The imaginative eye could perceive beyond snout, tail and feet, the silhouette of a bird, seal, even a dragonfly depending on the angle of sun and shade. It was magical; and I unfolded the wings of my

mind and heart. These small, remarkable creatures ( that grow at most to 1.5 inches) enhanced my literary perspective as well as my own confidence to see things beyond commonplace reality. But of course, they were in a protected environment, given everything they needed and not using all their inbred instincts to survive and hunt or intake the elemental signs and wisdom of the outdoors. So with October here, the temps much cooler, it was time to release them and let them “take flight” That was extremely difficult but they deserved the chance to grow further and explore what was out there and where they originally came from. This poem was written after their release.




  1. Wendy,

    You are a rare and beautiful being!

    Both the poem and the prose touched my heart,
    and made me more. You opened my eyes to both
    the harshness and the kindness to be found in desert
    settings. You changed my perspective. You have defined

    Thank you!



  2. Dear Sarah

    Your beautiful commentary just brightened my morning, made my day!! Thank you so much for these lovely words. They mean a lot to me! And I do miss our lizards as we took care of them for three months, last year in 2017, we had only one the one lizard which we also released in late October of last year. Never thinking we would see another one, three entered our house this past June and were probably hatched some where
    in the niche of our abode walls. Each one had a different personality, one was the acrobat swinging from branch to branch, another was territorial claiming most of the log and rocks for herself and the third was rather shy but enjoyed a splash in the pool now and then and was quite curious. But they needed a chance to thrive in the wild before the first frost comes and the desert emerges into its onset of Winter. Again, many thanks!

    Take care


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