Territorial Claims

By Clarence Major

While walking a narrow path
high above Boulder,
looking for a place to rest,
I paused at a large rock 
alongside a diverging path 
and saw, standing on a rock 
(of grays and greens— 
the same as her own colors), 
a pregnant lizard, a skink 
standing high,
careful to keep her belly lifted 
from her perch, 
the hot surface,
while she, weary of trouble, 
watched me coolly
calculating my next move,
to protect her inner bubble, 
brave enough to go to war
with me, if necessary.
So, I moved off the path
far from her,
making a large circle, 
concluding it,
up beyond her rock
and again, took up my search
for a place I could claim my own.

“Territorial Claims” from Sporatic TroubleshootingCopyright © 2022 by Clarence Major. Used by permission of Louisiana State University Press.