What the Crocodile Taught Me
I swooned at the large god of him, sunning,
a tooth for every day of my life.
He performed his run along the bank,
as males do. I brought my boat closer,
he took to following, at a distance.
I wasn’t taken in, knew his four-chambered heart
could pump love out and in, in and out,
knew his tongue had few good uses,
knew all about his grin. Whoever said he was cold-
blooded has never truly known this beast.
He brought out the prehistoric in me. I dived.
We swam, belly to belly, swam to where the Niles meet,
tussled as we thrashed among the weeds. After, I lay
the length of him, a limestone lilo, studs patterning
my skin. He smiled at me, often. Taught me all he knew.
Years later, when a man tried to drag me under,
I practised the force my lover had held back –
levered my small jaws open to their fullest extent,
splashed them down on the human’s arm.
My attacker still carries the mark of my smile.