over the river rock stairs holding a green-handled magnifying glass and her dad’s
abandoned cricket cage. Dried cricket legs and what’s left of an old shriveled pota-
to rattle at the bottom of the cage while four green lizards cling to the screen walls.
They have slow movements from being kept in the cool shed as the girl looked for
her magnifying glass.
The girl settles into her monkeygrass bed and holds the cage above her
face. Some of the cricket legs escape the screen walls and she wipes them from her
eyelashes with the back of her freckled hand. Then, she closes one eye and shades
the other with the magnifying glass as she examines the scales and tiny claws of her
lizards. She watches as their skin shifts to a brighter green that matches the buds
of the daffodils surrounding her. The lizards tilt their triangular heads and examine
her with their reptilian eyes. Their drooping eyelids give them a wise appearance
which she imitates as she narrows her eyes and flattens her lips in concentration. Ed
returns to his dogwood and watches.
Ed had lived with the young girl when she was still an infant and he still
knew to keep his distance from her because of the threat of being chased by the
woman and her broom. So, he stays and watches from his dogwood when she
returns to the backyard every spring once the daffodils bloom. That’s when the
woman allows her to go barefoot and her feet turn as brown as Ed’s paws. She used
to leave him catfood on the river stone steps of the shed, but she’d forgotten that
tradition over the long winter.
The girl’s round magnified eye catches the movement of Ed’s tail and she
drops the cricket cage into a patch of daffodils while tucking the magnifying glass
underneath a pocket made from the flattened bed. She spies a fleshy boil on his
side. His skin shines to a pink tone where it stretches over the inflamed puss. Her
stomach tightens with the feeling of being both disturbed and intrigued. Not think-
ing, she reaches into the cricket cage, grabs a lizard and throws it to Ed. As the
lizard drifts up into the air, the end of its tail pops off and falls down into the grass
where it wiggles into the still blades. The lizard follows its tail with a sudden smack.
Stunned at first, it pauses before awkwardly sprinting back towards the shed. Ed fol-