An unexpected guest
Comes to my grandmother’s greenhouse,
A golden salamander,
Searching for slugs,
And company, perhaps.

On lonely days I watch him.

He is a clown tumbling between chrysanthemums
And red geraniums,
Or a shadow puppet
Darting between shady leaves
And the roots of miniature trees.
Or sometimes he lolls
In the luxury of the African marigold,
As though sunning himself in its glow.

I am as still as a waxwork.

He spots my presence
And sits,
His eyes mapping my face
Pressed to the windowpane.
Does he see me?
Does he know we both wear the colour of friendship?
Does he think I am a salamander too?



© Mary Green
First published in Welcome to the Snake Hotel poems chosen by Brian Moses Macmillan 2001

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