Mountain Lion

A lion, wild and hunting
prowls this mountain town
frightening 2-leggeds as she
takes civilization in her jaws and
snaps his thin neck.

Sitting round the Mercantile,
men talk of nothing else
Last night, a big dog — 100 pounds
just loose meat in the yard
Mountain lion
8 feet long they say
enduring here
in this sacred land of private property
Somehow hiding among
barbed wire electrified private real estate

I bow to you in deepest tremble
to what belongs, first
Cougar, they will kill you
because you don’t fear them
this they say is your great danger

Taunt and waiting
they’re talking you closer
hearing your heartbeat just beyond
the porch lights
They vampire a focus off your focus
oil their guns at night
No one sleeps without knowing your power
Impermanence stalks us
we stay inside
hearing your breath on the next pillow over

i’m on your side
Huff in my ear, wild and shivery
I am your wild side
your deep forest exhale
Maybe they oughtta kill me too
my growl a humming engine
on the inside of my reckless bony skull

I celebrate your compassionless presence
your great velvet head
your stone jaw muscles
The day after you take a 90 pound Husky
snap his neck and drag him down
a lit residential road
I lie in sunshine, grateful
on your perfect earth

Next day, same trail, i
stop to stand before a great track
in snow that could be yours’
speak some words, include us both
wanna ritual you safe with language
sprinkle it on thinning snow
like pollen in your paw prints
wishing for some old time magic
Are you watching me talk to the ground?
Do you know they are carrying weapons against you?

Your blood-wet teeth breaking illusions down
you’re the charnel ground
Your purple claws, your solitude
black tipped ears examining miles
your clean thoughts of simple goals
your gnarled relationship to all who travel these paths
your ponderosa heart
An aspen grove in your winter dreams
the berries you pass by
the boots that pass you by
the bears you’ve known
your golden flaming eyes
your sage breath
Smudge yourself and smudge me too
till it’s all banked in grey
and grows cold.

Your tail flicks inside the deeps of legend
Cowboys, ranchers, miners, rednecks
all think they know you
imagine they’ve got the right to weaponry
How about living-ry?
Living right?  Right relation, anyone?

They are loving the shape of your death
as I love the image of your life
They judge you with their ancient fear
with modern arrows, bullets, steel traps, helicopters
all our metals lined up against you
Hating you simply
because you will die before you’ll give in
No way to take you but bloody
no way to change your big, red mind

So, leave us here
with our trespassing, our thieving needs, our wars
and all we call mine
left to our slaughters
to grieve a last reminder of the end
The awe of you
your raw, hot, lurid magnificence
Namaste, they say at the Buddhist university
another original relationship stolen
Namaste I say
and it circles this one sky
flying into the shining bright dishes
of your ears
and gods’.

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