A bright orange salamander silently slithers
the length of the soft-pink stone-chip wall,
making faster speed than I could in this heat.
I sit, staring, mesmerized by this costumed athlete,
this splendid natural explosion of colour,
this distraction from the dull monochrome of my life.
With a desperate reluctance, I crack open the velcro
ties that bind me to the lizard, drawing back my focus
to include my companion and the unfinished wine.
“Let’s review where we are,” she says. “Yes,
let’s do that,” I reply from a distance, forgetting
where we’ve been in this conversation and why.
She clears her throat and continues: “You and I
seem to be headed nowhere, neh?” She pauses,
examining me for confirmation. Perhaps I nod.
“As a couple, I mean. We have to come to terms
with that. We have to face the true nature of our failure
you and I. We are not meant to be, that’s the point.”
I say: “I see.” I feel her eyes burning me, expecting more.
Across the street, the afternoon shoppers flow in and out
of department stores and groceries and fish merchants.
“Well?” she presses. “Am I right? What do you think?”
I sip the wine, close both my eyes, and imagine
the cool cave where the salamander rests.