Wildlife off I-110

By, Zenia Rios


There is an alligator

out of the bayou,

by the highway;


right where it shouldn’t be,

right where it’s always been.

Hardly noteworthy,


locals say, Don’t mind

the monster in our midst.

Visitors’ eyes widen,


taking in rough green-

black skin, natural

camouflage in stagnant waters.


Centuries past,

Spaniards trekked through

these same wetlands,


voices echoing,

¡El lagarto!

¡El lagarto!


Lizard seems a strange

turn of phrase

for this half-ton beast,


who exerts two thousand

pounds of pressure with

its jaws as it drags its victim


writhing, squirming,

bleeding and crying,

holding it under


the slow moving river

until its movements cease

and it is consumed.


Surely someone trained

could remove it

from this highway?


Surely someone could,

and then it will return

as it always does.


An alligator can survive

freezing weather

if it remains in water.