Anne Stewart (Birthday)
Katherine Gallagher (Anytime)
Wild splashing – a lizard,
fallen in the rain-water bucket,
was scrabbling at the smooth sides
frantic to get out,
delicate fingers not up to it,
flanks fighting for breath.
It’s a privilege to save a life;
some people never do.
And since life is life, indifferent
to worth or benefit, it was as though
I’d saved Mahatma Gandhi, Shelley,
Barthes – or any joker
whom attentiveness and a well-placed hand
could have turned from premature extinction.
As it was, it was a lizard with no tail
I tipped, ungrateful beast,
urgent for ants, twitching for a quarrel,
into the rest of its singular career.