They call me Ora, mouth. I am solitary
I am lizard. I am scaly and large.
I am afraid of nothing, except the scream
of the volcano, the smell of fire, and you tourists.
When the man wants me, he tramps out
of his hiding place on the other side of the island.
He presses his snout against me, flicks his tongue.
He is asking a question. Am I receptive?
If the answer is no, I inflate my great hinged neck
and hiss. Would you like to hear me?
Unlike your man, he takes no for an answer.
When the answer is yes—when volcano, fire
and you threaten our very existence,
I lay 20 or 30 eggs in an abandoned turkey nest.
No one ever asked me why I had so many children.
No one ever asked me if they were all his.
No one ever asked me why I move from place to place.
No one ever asked me to join the PTA.
No one ever blamed me for eating some of the eggs.
No one ever blamed me for my shark teeth
or for the deadly bacteria that lives in my mouth.
No one ever blamed me for preferring solitude.
No, not at all. They said it was my nature
and placed me on the endangered species list.
Jane Blue's poems have been published in many magazines, most recently in the e-zines Avatar Review, Convergence, Blaze, and Stirring. She has two books of poetry, The Persistence of Vision, Poet's Corner Press, Stockton, CA, 2003, and Now That I Am in the Light I See, Konocti Books, Winters, CA, 1996.