The Zooist

by Tom Bajoras

There are lizards in my basement.
They worship me.
I walked down the stairs,
like a god descending from the sky,
and caught them sacrificing one of their own
on an altar of carpet scraps,
to an image of my face scratched on the wall.

My mother doesn’t mind them.
She likes them more than the snakes I used to keep.
My mother is a nice lady.
She’s not like my father who always complained about my pets.
A cobra under his pillow solved that problem.

At night I hear scratching beneath my bedroom floor.
Gnawing sounds.
Listen… They’re praying.
Sinners in hell.
Lizards in my basement.