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Wildlife in the Garden

by  James Graham

Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Word Count: 196
Summary: For Challenge 268

Wildlife in the Garden

I spotted it at dusk
among the dogwoods
at the bottom of my garden.
No need to look it up
in my Observer’s Book of Beasts,
I knew exactly what it was.

About the size
of a baby dragon
- draco sylvestris, found
in our native woods -
but very different:
bird-footed, scaly-tailed,
spiny-backed, neck like a hawser.

At first it didn’t see me.
It was staring
at something in the undergrowth.
But as it turned its head
I knew I’d better
turn away.

Better safe than sorry.
I’d run out
of phoenix tears
so got some Extra Strength
as soon as the chemist opened.

Next evening
there it was again.
I took two spoonfuls
of the linctus
went out
and looked it in the eye.

It stared and stared.
I stared and stared.
I stared it out.

Gnomes are so last century.
Stone lions, frogs in dinner-suits,
are naff. Fauns, kittens, bunnies:
pretty-pretty. I have a special
garden ornament.

And by the way, I know
what it was staring at that night.
Among the weeds
just under the hedge
I found a rat,
eyes wide in terror,
turned to stone.