Originally three separate poems posted between 2010 and 2013.
Once there was a lion in love with a breeze —
neither jet stream nor hurricane,
just a humble riffle of air —
but on that breeze the lion soared.
The lion must surely have been
transformed into some other being, as lions
cannot fly. Yet the lion flew.
There’s not more to be said of that, I think,
unless you are one who must find meaning
in all things, one who must sip rainwater
from a china cup, one who holds a book to their face
to understand sunrise and thus misses the sight
of a lion making a transit across the face of the sun.
If it happened to you, you would no doubt
seek a parachute; you’d be so unworthy
of the love of a good breeze.
There was a lion once
seated in my supermarket
near the cereal.
I had been shopping
and turned the corner:
there was a lion, not raging,
not sleeping, just sitting.
I thought at first
it was some cardboard promotion,
only I could see it.
It seemed mostly eyes
and of course teeth.
But color of mane, of fur, of claws —
nothing of these.
What is this lion to me
now? A reminder
of how we all hunted once
and were hunted.
Speaker for the wild not found
in the supermarket. Disturbance
in the daily, torn fabric in the mask.
Memory of eyes, mostly. Of teeth.
My present emotion?
Mostly still fear,
but now it is less
a fear of the lion
than a fear
of forgetting there was a lion.
Still – good to be Lion.
Sleep between blood feasts.
Be called noble strictly on looks.
Better to be Lioness.
Work the kill.
Stand over it and let the babies feed.
Better to be Gazelle.
Lie there after heart busting run.
Be part of the chain.
Better to be Vulture.
Watch, float down, eat, survive.
Hang away from the others in a pack.
Best, of course, to be Bones.
Best as well to be Leavings.
No guilt except that of unwanted peace.
And as Bones, as Leavings,
best of all to know you’ll be the Same
as Lion, Lioness, Gazelle, Vulture eventually.