The Gecko
by Christine H. Boldt

Here is the gecko, again this morning,
trying to look like the shower curtain
to his left, the tiled wall behind him.

So quiet: this hyper-alert stillness
is what drew my eye to his pink presence.
Just a week ago we scared each other—

I by flipping on the fluorescent light,
he with his odd Silly Putty scuttle.
He could not know I, stomper of roaches,

slapper of mosquitoes, snuffer of spiders,
will not harm him or even trap him in
a Dixie cup and carry him outside—

this scruple something even I don’t get.
How much like me does something have to be
before I squelch the instinct to remove

its nuisance and choose to consider it
a fellow traveler in this world of ours?
Did its black look, fixed on me even now,

evoke the tenderness we, as children,
learn from Disney: kindly disposition
toward the big-eyed creatures who grace our world?

Or am I wooed by his pale translucence?
Does the shadow of gut seen through his hide
suggest something of our common hungers?

A staring contest with a gecko is not
how I’d planned to start my day, but listen,
I almost think that I can hear the beat
of his three-chambered reptilian heart.

Copyright 2021 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.