A Journal of Formal & Metrical Verse

Veranda listen

Naked on a chaise longue she
fiddles with and strokes the crest
of an iguana stolidly
sunning on a greased brown breast.

Two claws clutch and two retract.
Askance, impassive eight-ball eyes
regard her sternum as a fact
not to be processed otherwise

than as the source of all heat.
If it can hear her lungs fill up,
if, listening in on her heartbeat,
it feels her delicately cup

its curled tail above her pubis,
all it knows is warmth, as she,
for her part, scowls in drowsy hubris
of weekend waste and luxury.

Her sunglasses spit back the sky,
the wires extruding from her ears
conjoin as one -- a letter "Y" --
exactly where the lizard rears

its head in broiled debauchery.
Flower boxes line the rail
snowing yellowed stems that she
brushes off like fingernail

clippings to the scorched floor.
Winds stir blindly here and there,
gently jiggling the sliding door
in its track, unsettling her hair.

Lizard, for your blood's hot bliss;
dreamer, for your M&Ms
and the way your fingers kiss
its skin; may all these yellowed stems,

these petals blown beneath the chair,
burst to life and overgrow
in bells and cups and Angel's Hair
the whole veranda -- and the world below.

By Terry Culleton

Terry Culleton lives and teaches in Bucks County PA and was the Bucks County Poet Laureate in 1993, as well as a Nation/Discovery Contest semi-finalist. He’s published in a number of journals and anthologies, and he continues to read extensively along the Philadelphia-New York corridor and in New England. Several of his poems have been featured on NPR.