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Sunday, January 14, 2007


by Earl J. Wilcox

I see your tongue first, a fuchsia flame flickering,
darting out nervously from a filthy mouth of sharp
teeth I know lurk in there like tiny, jagged daggers.
You are so brave, buried up to your grisly, gaudy,
slick, and multi-colored yellow top in my dog’s
food box, flashing your credentials--a pointed head,
that forked tongue, those two beady eyes. Mister
Chameleon himself, you bring the news today as
usual, changing colors and shapes, keeping us off
guard as if we’ll forget you and your view of things.
Long ago, before feeding time for my dog today,
I met your relatives. Like you, they were no good--
always picking fights, throwing stones, planting
fear and sinister motives in the minds of even the
best of us. Then you denied trying to do us all in.
Why do you hide in a box? What do you know
about feeding the hungry? Maybe you were
trying to take me by surprise, by waiting until I
scooped a helping of food, accidentally lifting
you up into our world? You have much to learn
about us, old one. We’re learning about you, too.

Earl J. Wilcox founded The Robert Frost Review, which he edited for more than a decade. His poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.