poem lions

    keep your preferred knife not among knives but among the poor
    defenseless spoons.    Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking

a poem lion is nothing for show and tell.   the color of their words,
complementary to our vocabulary.   rendered meaningless grey.
          out of step to our ears, nameless, to pronounce.

old adage.   you may not have seen their shapes in the grass, the
trees, but eyes have seen you.   their eyes.   clear like noon sun.
          we know how to find you.
          and how you taste.

if kin, we come when you call.   we lean into you.

what rubs across becomes language revisited.
moons get new-found this way.

face to face, we like being that close.   scent is a thirst, satisfied.

think that’s about some lion?   well, no, about this poem here.
management suggests:   turn your back only at your own risk.

here, a story to sharpen your claws.

when you set aside this page, turn away.   then think, oh look
there she is, like no spoons necessary.   no fence.   a smile.

fallow feet trace soft lines.   what’s in.   what’s left, behind.
that song you hum, that becomes my name.

          scent.   sound.   sight.   navigate.
          taste awaits.   you’ll see.   she sleeps with you.
          eyes closed means family.

          even asleep the pages are gathering words.
          licking lips.    you think poems don’t?

now awake.
four feet close at hand.   an easy breath.
odd.    how I feel the wind blowing through the tall grass
          and through me.

and.    no matter the story I recall, how it comes to a sadness
          told like a star.   I return to graze once more by choice.
          like a cloud inside a seed.   nomatterwhat.

          my turn to smile.   to show my teeth.

          loving this stance.   nomatterwhy.
even when outside the room.   more than cousin.

family.   we know because our breathing is some kind
          of thread.   some kind of rope.   asked with

an outstretched paw.   claws.   you remember them.

          whose belly will rest a head?
          a story in sleep becomes history.

we know what was said, and by whom.

could’ve meant sister, that color you painted into sky.

here, this is where we sleep.   (trusting you.)

          word by word
          the remainder of them, we eat.


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