When you say “Roadrunner,” most people think of Wile E. Coyote’s opponent –
Here’s what they actually sound like:
The real Roadrunners (‘Greater’- Geococcyx californianus and ‘Lesser’- Geococcyx velox) are among the fastest things on two legs, reaching speeds up to 26 miles per hour.
The Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) also runs on two legs, getting up to 16 miles per hour.
At the Bomb Testing Site
by William E. Stafford
At noon in the desert a panting lizard
waited for history, its elbows tense,
watching the curve of a particular road
as if something might happen.
It was looking at something farther off
than people could see, an important scene
acted in stone for little selves
at the flute end of consequences.
There was just a continent without much on it
under a sky that never cared less.
Ready for a change, the elbows waited.
The hands gripped hard on the desert.
These sprinters are at home in the Southwestern deserts. You can watch both of them in these videos (the collared lizard follows the roadrunner) :
“At the Bomb Testing Site” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems, © 1960 by William Stafford – Graywolf Press — http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/42777
- Greater Roadrunner
- Great Basin Collared Lizard – photo by Gary Nafis