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  • Lizards. Garden lizards always in Vlasic Pickle jars. I heard the scissors puncture the metal of a top of a Vlasic pickle jar. The round sound of metal met the tip of an extended pair of shears. Ploup, plop, plop, the metal gave way — gave way to air holes for the green or brown lizard she found that morning. Mom tiptoed into my room when she thought I was asleep, but I had one eye open. She put the pickle jar, full of lizard, one leaf, a rock, and a stick on the bedside table next to me. I played possum — shifted in my fake-sleep, avoided eye contact with the beast in my room as she tip-toed out the door.

    About once a month she captured a lizard and put it in my room. A gift. A test, perhaps. It was one of the things I never understood about her. She upped the ante in my sixth grade year. We met her at the Houston Intercontinental Airport. She had a paper grocery bag. And it was jumping.
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