how the stars came to be (20160625)

when the world was new
and the sky was still
a thing of darkness
the animals strove to
fill it up with light

the lion
climbed the highest tree
filling the air with
the thunder of his roar
he became the sun

the fox
curled into a circle
near a lake where
her reflection blurred
and she became the moon

while the cat and the snake
argued over who would accompany
the fox in her nightly journeys
they did not see the finch
pluck hair from the lion’s mane
from the fox’s tail
and scatter them
through the darkness

Poem 20150319

the lion stands on the plains
in the morning sun
his mane matted
and falling out
his bones ache
he may be losing a tooth
he doesn’t have any roars left
to rise like thunder from his chest

the other males have driven
him to the edges
and the females ignore him now
there’s little game for him when
the hunt is over
forcing him to scavenge the stripped bones
and risk the hyenas
their snarls and their laughter

his big-cat memory
reaches back to a morning
when he rose proud, as golden as the dawn
when his voice made flocks of birds wheel
black and graceful in the blue-white sky
as if by his command

this pride won’t bear him any more cubs

he pants
staring into the distance
watches the grasses wave
watches the solid shadows that are birds
peck and hop and scratch for food

maybe he can work up
one last roar