Thursday, January 15, 2009



Skinks resemble lithe snakes with very short legs and feet.
They are close to the ground and more common than geckos here
on the island. Yesterday afternoon L. called me out;
she was pulling the car in to park under the house.
I went out to see what was the matter.

Two skinks were on the drive and she didn’t want to run over them.
One had been biting the other; it was unclear whether
it was about mating or fighting.
Doesn’t that often seem to be the case?

I was able to easily direct the male off the pavement to the grass.
The female was slower, and larger, swollen with the ripeness
of fecundity or pregnancy. She didn’t budge when I slapped a board
to startle her to movement, as I did the male.
And when I got a stiff piece of paper to gently urge her over
she turned and stood her ground.
She never did move off the pavement.

I had to keep my eyes on her as L. pulled the car up slowly.
Ms. Skink clung to a depression in the concrete.
Before I went back into the house I checked on her.
She was still frightened, breathing heavily.
I acknowledged her bravery, thanked her.
Her bravery still inspires me this morning.

c Joy Harjo Honolulu, HI

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