A Day at the Alligator Farm

August 27, 2019 | Poems

We lie in bed together in the dark. Your disappointment rages, so I make an effort.

“What’s wrong?” I press half-heartedly.

You answer, “you locked yourself away from us today. I feel alone. I am afraid our lives are being wasted.”

Earlier that day a brown anole begins to sink to the bottom of the underwater Maximo viewing area at the Alligator Farm. Spurts of fight for the surface make the descent more painful to watch.

“Yes, well everyone is fighting a difficult battle, aren’t they? Everyone feels desperately alone. Everyone is afraid of their anonymous deaths. Grow the fuck up. Welcome to the human race. Welcome to the real world,” I say, unable to look into the raw horror of your words.

The small lizard sits at the bottom of the tank, not moving, drowning.

We lie in bed together in the dark.

“I’m sorry I was absent today. I feel alone too. I feel afraid. I am still a child,” I say when my cowardice subsides.

It does not help immediately, but it is a beginning.

Slowly, our old love creaks into movement.

The lizard makes a final push for the surface. He can swim after all, it seems. He emerges into the air, exhausted, but breathing.

Back in our bed, each of us begins to reach for the other in the darkness, and we are less alone than before.