The Fourth River

Tributaries: “Arkansas Anoles”

By on July 19, 2017

By Stacy Pendergrast



Before Daddy left us
for New York, he told me
if I could catch one of
those lizards its tail
would snap off.

Those critters
ran up and down
our house all day,
their true skin color
the shade of mortar
that held the bricks
of our home together.

So easy for them
to change from puke-green
to dirt-brown. I found out
later they weren’t
real chameleons.

When I grew up I discovered
I wished for the same things
my father wanted: time to read,
someone to talk to in the night,
and just once, a dream car—
that black Camaro he gave me
after he balded its tires.

He’d said he moved away
so someday I’d know
how to leave.

I remember the cold,
wriggling tail in my hand
as I watched the rest
slip under the rocks.



Stacy Pendergrast earned an MFA at Chatham University in 2011. Her work has appeared in Blue Mesa Review, Sliver of Stone, and Still: A Journal. She teaches at NorthWest Arkansas Community College where she also serves as poetry editor for The Low Valley Review.