A marvel of scaly orange, his daggered toes
hooked with dark intent, he climbs,
the fiery crest that ripples along his spine
a flag of fierce announcement. Whatever is
is his. If all he wants is his place in the sun,
the better to bask in blazing glory,
so it is, high in the arching fronds of palms.

But what stalk bears vainglory’s weight,
the gravity of overreach, and doesn’t yield?
What comes crashing down the laddered fronds,
fire-fall and thrashing tail? Tumble taken,
the ravenous eye of spite nonetheless unbowed,
he hisses in the verdant grass, green and cool,
and lumbers, flaunting his armored flesh.