a poem by Grace Wagner

I love the you that feels destroyed
when you destroy the egg
of a lizard—small jellied thing
unfurling like larva
when you drop it.

I love the you that loves
an invasive species, adopts it
as your own—a young female
brown anole lizard
fights with the native green
over territory, but still

she is yours. I love the you
that encourages our house cats
to stalk the lizard
through the window—black tails
lashing against glass—feral

hearts beating hard
with desire. I love the you that whispers
to your plants as you water them,
that names each green thing
with care, sheltering
the little lizard

and her empty nest.
I love the you that loves
the scent of jasmine, staining
these subtropical nights
with their slow decay,
the way you shush

me as we walk by the tree
where the young heron lives, hoping
to glimpse its flight from ground
to roost, a frog caught
in its mouth—your hand
on my wrist.

These small gestures,
an echo of the beating
wings, the leap from plant
to wall, the steady
growth, the quiet loss—