Half-way up the sodden yard brushing through the morning’s rewoven webs (spiders centred, or hiding in curled leaves) I check the rain gauge, tip out fifty ml. Elderberries catch my eye, hanging over the stone retaining wall — hand-sized green umbrellas their spokes tipped with crimson drops. Above them, lizard-skin: a long, thin lizard on a long, thin branch high in the flimsy shrub, its scales olive-green on top, yellow ochre underneath. No legs. Not a lizard. The flattened head weaves left and right, the forked tongue flickers, tasting the air for food or death until I turn, and every trace of snake-skin melts into the green and yellow yard.
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art'