by Brian Wake
Above our bed a salamander, motionless for hours,
is waiting for its prey. To even blink, it knows,
an eyelid would betray its whereabouts and add,
perhaps, another hungry day to when it feeds.
Throughout the night we, half-asleep in candlelight,
keep watch for any twitch or instant of an uncoiled tongue
flicked out to whip a careless insect in. But nothing moves
and only swaying shadows stalk the bedroom wall.
Although we watch and worry that some dropping
of its guard might cause a sudden plunge, or time spent
hanging there unglue its toes, we hesitate. Like it we wait.
Our salamander does not move.
And could it wonder whether we, like it, are there
to prove that patience has its own reward and, waiting
in the candlelight, afford to hope that blinking eyelids
might betray its hiding place, and not as predator
but as our prey.