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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

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Marcyn Del Clements
Claremont, California, USA


Western Fence Lizard

The little fence lizard I watched beneath the Rhaphiolepis, gone for several weeks now. It was his bush, his beat, his territory, which he pugnaciously defended.

Once an English sparrow flew from the apricot tree, hopped under the bush, pecking for seeds. The lizard jumped a whole foot down from his perch in front of the sparrow, so unnerving the bird, it flew right off across the back wall.

The lizard napped in the branches, hunted on the ground. He’d crawl out to the lip of the shade. He’d study the grass. Dart out quickly—tongue-flick a white fly. Retreat back under the shady canopy of his pink-flowering bush.

Often I’d see him doing push-ups on the main branch midway up. He never lay in the sun for long—usually half in or out. Heliothermy.

I haven’t seen him now for many weeks. Maybe a kestrel got him? A bigger lizard? Or maybe the bugs were all cleaned out from that patch and he moved on.

from the wall
a ground squirrel suns himself
the slow hawk circles

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