Crotaphytus nebruis

Sonoran collared lizard

Tj Hoffman Duffy



Blue and red burn in the sky high above our parched earth

pink is born close to the horizon of the Sonoran collared lizard

a risky fellow, who reins over 6 nations

the Tohono O’Odham, Mexico, Ak-chin, Pascua Yaqui, Yuma-Quechan,

and the United States


invisible boundaries made by his human counterparts

you dwell in a place where spirits cry, deep in canyons among

saguaros and prickly pears, mesquite and palo verde trees

between the winds that carry hope


teacher of the Aztec sun dancers, draped with two black rings around

your neck; left over from your previous life as an Inca king


a slanky rascal doing push-ups on all fours

usually perched upon a heated rock, basking in the rays of the great sun

or spelunking in water holes created by the leaking sky of the monsoon


spotted back hides you from the desert floor, keeping a vigil watch

for predators in the sky, escaping from the shadows of a

Harris's hawk, built with the stamina of an Olympic sprinter

running swiftly through desert scrub, bobbing up and down


eyes of mystic moons, dangling hands, you run free between man-

made borders, where human vows sweat, broken and shard

across your land beneath our purple dotted horizon that accents our turquoise moon


let us humans walk in your lizards’ ways, teach us that someday

we may learn of your borderless manners





Tj Hoffman Duffy received his BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2010. He has enjoyed playing with words since grade school. He likes the hope that can be expressed in the written word. Especially when it generates healing and respect for our Earth and other beings.