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