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Galapagos Islands, Guillotine Eyelids


ISSUE:  Winter 1990
the terrors, the bloody taciturnity, all
the blink-blown, irrevocable severings
. . . .

β€”Thomas Lux

Iguanas grabble on Galapagos rocks
in a National Geographic movie.
A teen-age boy naps in the last row
of the classroom. He’s not popular, a nobody.

He wakes up to find a single iguana’s
face filling the screen, a stare hypnotic
with one quick blink. The boy
is thrilled, thinks to himself: so cold-blooded.

Alert in every nerve, he cannot return
to dreaming. Across the room the object
of his desires, a girl with black hair,
leans forward and reveals her neck.

It gleams. Why be lonely, lucid, keen,
eyelids like a guillotine, heart a walnut?
She looks at him. He looks to the screen.
As if by a falling blade, again, the boy is lost:

closing his eyes he sees Gary Cooper, a lone gun,
a good man. Then the boy replays a porno film, paid for
a quarter at a time, bad milk spilled in a booth.
What sort of man will he be? Opening his eyes

he sees lizards lash tails in the surf, writhing,
mouths full of algae, and not so grotesque, really.
In fact, they look happy. The girl smiles at him.
He is afraid to smile back. But, desiring his life, he does.

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