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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
tasting the air
for food or death

until I turn, 
and every trace
of snake-skin melts
into the green and yellow yard.