Waking the Lion
A poem by Julia R. DeStefano
Waking the Lion
I’m a brilliant thing,
but he set free the lioness.
Finger to finger, making me his.
Now I am 2.0 on the hunt.
I tried to stamp her out.
But I’m caught deep in her -
this cat breathing heavily in the entryway.
Sweltering in the heat and licking her lips.
She is me, and I am her in heightened everything.
These words that rush through me
faster than I can write them.
Our breath exerting some life-affirming elixir.
I think of him at my desk.
Further down, my darling.
I think of him in bed.
Watch me bear my teeth.
It’s been a July full of sogginess.
Punctuated by glittering eyes
and curled fingers around mine.
But there is no word for time
and our flirtation with it.
Let us not think of the Calendar Man.
Of the hours that tick, tick, tick by
and my hapless fixation on them
because they’re full yet empty -
and in-between, clusters of worship that outshine
even the summertime rays
to make me blessedly delirious
yet so very hungry.
Desirous to lend him out no longer
because I’m not some library.
But I can see a road in my mind.
Around the corner of the wood there.
A third road for those who look.
A path to open wide,
blossom only when the phantoms of fear vanish.
My lioness lowers her head in sympathy.
Nuzzling her nose to his.
If closeness comes from mutual vulnerability -
from realizing similarities -
can we teach him to trust by believing?
To roar when he sees danger?
Guide him to victory,
and remind him to be fierce to get it?
Oh, for these ancient secrets of magic
that feel so convoluted at times
when the request is quite simple:
to become the beast
she — and I — desperately need him to be.
King of the jungle.
A rising sun.
© Julia R. DeStefano