That night the valley below us was aglow with glittering lights.
We listened to the cicadas as they spread out their blanket of scratchy sounds, and watched as the bats
Flew from hill to hill, their dark cloaks almost invisible in the black sky
Screaming warnings to little creatures, unsafe in the night.
Then someone noticed the lizard, asleep on the wall, its toes gripping tenaciously
To the whitewashed wall near the eaves, its eyes open but blind
So carelessly asleep, as if it had forgotten about danger.
We stood so close that we might easily have taken it in our hands and felt its rubbery feet scrambling to escape, the bulging eyes tracking our faces with panic, the sinews of its neck craning towards freedom.
But we only inspected the creature, and when it finally woke up to our noises and scuttled off, we laughed.
Then we drank wine and ate cheeses, aged for years in dark cellars. We devoured air-dried slices of animals we’d never met and floated our toes in the pool, avoiding the dying insects.
It was only later that I wondered
What right did we have
To eat for pleasure and to feel so safe
when the whole world around us was struggling
Eating and beating and fleeing in constant desperate motion
Just to survive;
Never allowed to sleep like us
With both eyes shut.