Holding On

Libby Sommer
When we are wet and cold,
we shelter under umbrellas & awnings.

When a lizard is wet and cold—often seeming 
frozen or dead—they drop from trees, stunned.
They’ve shut down, no longer able to hold on.

It’s true they like to wake up in the warm sun, 
just like us, even though they are cold-blooded.
Maybe a blue-tongue lizard’s easy-going nature
is what makes them a popular pet.
Maybe it’s their striking blue tongue.

You see lizards climbing the brick facade 
of your house as the rain keeps pelting down.
They may hibernate in a hole in the ground,
or maybe a tree trunk or a fallen log. 
City living is challenging if you’re
clinging to walls & windows. Scaling 
a windowpane without falling off is one thing. 

When enemies approach, some reptiles, 
nicknamed the Jesus Christ lizard, can run on water. 
If surprised by a predator, some lizards can detach 
their tails or change colour to escape their enemies.
Others can look in two directions at once.

We’re looking in the direction of human predators 
executing genocide far away in a war. 
We can’t make it stop.
Is there nothing we can do?

To hang on, lizards have evolved 
larger and stickier feet, while wild winds
blow your umbrella inside out. These reptiles 
have come to grips with their changed lives.

Maybe we don’t want to keep looking at
images of suffering. Rather, we could 
get ourselves a biodiversity conservation licence 
and keep an eye on a blue-tongue 
backyard buddy,
or not. 
lizard climbing

Libby Sommer is an Australian award-winning author of My Year With Sammy (2015), The Crystal Ballroom (2017), The Usual Story (2018), Stories from Bondi (2019), Lost In Cooper Park (2020). Her debut novel, My Year With Sammy was Pick of the Week, Sydney Morning Herald and winner of the Society of Women Writers Fiction Book Award 2016. She is a regular contributor of stories and poems to Quadrant magazine.Her first poetry collection, The Cellist, A Bellydancer & Other Distractions will be published by Ginninderra Press in May 2022.



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