Vahni Capildeo



I. Border

In the beginning
were the lizards
or some thing
going digging
dark holes
to bodily circumference,
slanting those
routes under
sand below windows.
Cacti flower
in their no-longer-bed,
scarlet, starrier
than ixora or radio
aerial signals.
Lizards, she said.

II. Terrazzo

Infancy was lizard.
Lizard was mutability.
Mortality was lizard.
Delicate eschatology,
detachable tail,
surface reversibility.
Find the frail
little-finger-length corpse
as you learn to crawl.
Reach into a box:
a raw stump leaps up,
torso sorts itself out.
Skate fast, faster – stop,
grab a post:
fastener-heart jumps
cased in your fist;
you gasping; eyes bulging;
what face your clutch expressed.

III. Driveway

Why this ixora
tall as any other
grew by nature sicklier:
leathery, sombre
foliage sparser
along its rigging; scarcer
still, unusual, paler,
more pointed, off-pink
westering flowers
more prized than picked,
persistent as housewives
thinking in lipstick
consistent with lives
whose positional hazards
are hidden deliveries,
why from such branches this lizard
fell – I don’t know,
and brood on, entwisted.

IV. Everywhere as nowhere

Gilberte brings
cocoa-pod eyes,
ink milk,
lime juice,
songs that brink
on flippant choice:
blink, sink,
cling, go,
gecko, skink.
Orange through blue,
punk to decadence,
skins show,
falling, some sense
of death as life’s outward;
and so lizard blends.