The Lion Tamers

131024-160038by Sheri Fresonke Harper12 Dec 2013

There were tears that day
despite the festive gathering.

We cheered at first,
wanted to be safe
from these fiercest of creatures
and their foul meat-eating breath,
their slashing claws and teeth.

So we scooped hands full
of popped corn,
kissed our children,
held hands with lovers.

We could do anything--
tame the flood waters to plant our fields,
turn back invaders from stealing our grain,
face the terror--

the childhood fear
we'd be the pounced upon
and consumed.

So we cheered the strong warriors
wearing their finest weapons.

A fair fight we assumed,
seeing the size of male, flare of pride,
wild eyes and restless pacing.

We thought he'd be loose
but they kept him tied with rope
bound him to hurt,
and scream his primal rage,
his belly caved by hunger
weakly limping and wavering.

At his most dangerous
we are told, then they stabbed
his eyes, prodded his balls,
smashed claws and legs
beat and beat him, his brave cry
primal agony of the worst kind

so that it was us who hurt, turned away
sickened this was no clean kill
to satisfy hunger.
No swift mercy of the valorous.

We cried for the beauty of his justice
compared to the terrible torture
of our so called brave.