Erich Said He’s Amazed at What Lizards Teach Us

Blend in when you can,
move at night to hide
from birds of prey,
and run like hell
when kids show up
with peanut butter jars.

He said his father nearly disowned him
for being gay
but he tried to awaken
with a song in his heart
and know
there is nothing wrong with that.

Erich told me,
a straight Roman Catholic,
“If you want a miracle
look at a cricket.”
and “The secret of the universe
is hidden in the beagle.”

When I looked perplexed, he added
“Darwin’s boat, you idiot.”

The day a heart attack killed him
I, on a drive to Eastern Oregon,
cried all the way up the Columbia.

Scott T. Starbuck’s poems have been published in several print and online journals. His new chapbook, The Warrior Poems, was a finalist at the 2009 Pudding House Poetry Chapbook Competition, and will soon be published by Pudding House.