Throwing Muses
Kristin Hersh
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"Watching" by Kristin Hersh, September 10 2009 (originally published on

Watching little Bodhi catch lizards in our yard, I am amazed that they keep appearing. I thought I had a pretty good eye for reptiles; he beats the crap out of me. Squinting, I stand perfectly still and try to catch a glimpse of movement before Bo does, but all I see is leaves and flowers. It’s as if he wills the lizards into being. “How do you make them appear?” I ask him.

“I don’t,” he says. “Lizards just are.”


“When they want  to be.” Suddenly, he reaches out and snatches one from thin air. There is nothing and then there is a lizard in Bodhi’s hand.

“Now that one, you made up,” I say, accusingly.

He admires his catch: a silvery-gray skink. “No,” he says dreamily. He’s himself.”

I watch the skink over his shoulder. It looks comfortable. “He likes you,” I say.

Bodhi smiles. “If I made him up, he wouldn’t be this nice. I’d forget to put something on him like rough skin or a light tummy. And he wouldn’t be so special.” He pets the skink with his finger. The skink’s eyes close like a cat’s. “I didn’t know that skinks had eyes this cool and shiny. If I made him up, I would forget to put shiny eyes on his face.”

The skink does, indeed, have cool, shiny eyes. “You could give him a horn or wings or something.”

Bo looks at me sympathetically. “That wouldn’t be cooler than this,” he says, holding up the lizard. “Geckosdon’t even have horns or wings.”

“I guess they’re not supposed to, huh?”

“No,” he says, shaking his head. “They’re best like they evolved to be.”

I watch the skink explore Bo’s little palm. “So you didn’t make him up.”

Bodhi smiles a toothless, six year old smile. “I wouldn’t make him up,” he says. “It’s not my job.”

“What’s your job?”

“To see him.”