Aspidoscelis exsanguis

Chihuahuan spotted whiptail
Richard Green



Te veo, lagarto, tomando el sol

on that stone wall that marks my place

in these greasewood colinas.


Your place es donde quieres

in this spiny world, so you bask

on my wall con wary confianza.


¡Ay Chihuahua, tan bonito eres!

those yellow stripes and pale spots

como una bandera de stars y stripes,


and that tail como un látigo de vaquero

shining in the afternoon sun.

No puedo dejar de admirarte.


Dicen que tú eres un ectotherm,

y yo, yo soy un endotherm,

They say que tú eres un sauropsid,


and me, I’m a synapsid.

¡Qué tan diferentes somos!

Then I think how much we share—


a love of sun, need for shade,

algunas proteínas, although

I draw the line at arañas


and find moths a little dry.

De veras, I can’t clone myself,

and I lost my tail long ago


and couldn’t grow it back,

como puedes tú

after leaving yours


in the beak of a roadrunner.

Pero we each have a spine,

five digits on our four limbs,


a gut, dos ojos and a brain—

that old reptilian brain that keeps us going

through tiempos difíciles y fáciles.


Crees, primo lagarto, about that time

en que nos separamos

all those eons ago?


Somehow we went our different ways,

necesidades diferentes, I guess, y

cambiamos to fit in our new worlds.


Are you not astonished, mi primo,

a pensar en lo que we’ve been through?

We barely made it through the


Permian mass extinction,

y entonces we survived the Mesozoic

cuando murieron all the dinosaurs.


Enjoy the sun, amigo,

tenemos mucho que hablar

before the next Big One comes.




Richard Green lives in and writes about the greasewood colinas of southern New Mexico. His poems can be read at