Robert Miner

low angle photography of yellow big tree

Robert Miner is a former political consultant who now works in government affairs in the energy industry. His poetry can be found in The Brazos River Review, The Earth Journal, You Might Need to Hear This, The Ekphrastic Review, The Dewdrop, Ribbons, The Acropolis Journal, Jerry Jazz Musician and Tanka Journal. This poem comes out of the experience of spending an inordinate amount of time in the backyard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lizard Tree

Weather here varies
only from hot and humid
to torrential rain
creating fierce competition

that makes battlefields of backyards.
Nest-protecting birds chase
squirrel thieves up trees
and down telephone lines.

Spiders grab prime spots
to tangle flies only for
mud-daubers to build nests
next to their spider prey.

Lizards cling upside down on
the trunk of their favorite tree
puffing out their red throat fans
declaring sovereignty over the yard

Eying the liriope for any
betraying motion –
even once scaling a lawn chair
to leap at a surprised fly.

Or creating a terrifying line
waterbugs must cross to
make a dash to the elusive safety
on the other side of an open door

An implacable enemy to all
but the giant cockroaches
against whom I wage
all-out chemical war.

Even plants carry
a hidden menace- hawthorn
trees with barbed limbs make
fall mulching treacherous.

A sweet-pretty daisy flower
masks an invasive will
overcoming and suffocating
anything in its path.

An arch of climbing vines
booby-trapped with poison oak
exacts a revenge for pruning
of swollen eyes and blood-red rashes.

Trimming tree limbs,
a lizard races to the cut
we stand eye-to-eye, still,
watching for any sudden movement.