A dragon lives in my laundry. It stands guard, head held alert, on the concrete step in the mouth of the gap under the door.
A smaller one lives on my verandah. That one is young, it skitters across the concrete and tries to climb the shade cloth when I surprise it by coming out the kitchen door. I leave the verandah door open for it when I go outside.
They must both go outside into the garden, where there are more of their kind, for they must eat and drink. If they do not go outside then I do not know what they live on, there’s a scary thought for they must live on something. The largest of them are still shorter than a ruler and aside from seasonal pregnant swelling not long past, I cannot tell their gender. This is a species that gives birth to live young, no egg clutches are nurtured in nests hidden behind the washing machine or the chicken feed box. This year’s babies, about the size of a pencil, lighter and with more gold in their brown than their elders skitter past the verandah steps sometimes, sprinting from cover to cover, hiding from the very real predators who lurk above.
The kookaburra with the youthful, punkish head feathers who perches on my clothes line would just eat them all up.
The skinks, for that is what my dragons are, are not the only lizards in my garden and around my house.
Tiny dark brown things, the length of a teaspoon handle and their live born babies smaller still, whose name I do not know treat my concrete and brick like a sand stone outcrop.
The unknown stranger with velvet skin who came inside through the gap in the crooked fly screen and had to be gently removed from a lounge room cushion to go back outside.
Land mullet, large and ponderous in their age, smooth skinned except for old battle scars where they luckily survived dog or cat, sometimes hiss in warning if you come close to disturbing their sunning. They live in a family, guarding their young. A fantasy artist painting black dragons could do worse than use them as an exemplar of black scales in sunlight.
The red bellied black snake would make another fine colour and texture reference for that subject, but that would be another story.