Winter 1987 • Vol. IX No. 1 Poetry |

Garden Story

Out of the still center of the big field near our house,from the burned-out, tangled heapof felled trees there— the black mass you can glance atsidewise, and still see flames, trapped heat still wavering upafter all this time— I've found something. Something alive in both my handsand what the big kids callthe devil lizard, horned lizard, toad. I'm five. I talk to it the whole way home.I wonder how it managesto breathe, the way it's nailed to itself like that.Big thorns stuckthrough its head and neck and back, all over. Every several seconds it signalsits distress,with a needle of blood emitted from an eye.By the time I'm home, it's late. It's supper.I ease the thing down on the lawn, saying here is where you are andDon't Move.When I come back out there's a grisly chill on the air and of course the thing is gone.Just a little breezethrough the grass where it was. Though by now it's hard to see, I stand there,peering out alongthe edge of the fence, aroun

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Cindy Nichols is a professor of creative writing. Her poems have been published widely.

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By Cindy Nichols

Out of the still center of the big field near our house,from the burned-out, tangled heapof felled trees there— the black mass you can glance atsidewise, and still see flames, […]

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