[from Kimberly Johnson's Leviathan with a Hook, 2002]
Severe the light, and in the ether
rough weather settles.
Ramshackle, headstrong valley,
headlands bare of tree, tired starts
of olive branching along the foothills.
Cisterns breached, water stands
in the path, taking on rust, a smell of turpentine,
red leaves moored against the shallows.
A quiver -- a red lizard on a rock:
I catch him, halve him with a knife.
Two slippery sagittal lizards, veins
interrupted, spilling into my hands,
second skin starting to buckle.
I thumb an edge, pull back
the scales . . . another pale lizard,
soft flesh, lidless eye
reflecting my abject, adjectival, earthbound, blessed body.
Leviathan With a Hook: Poems