“The Lion’s Last Act” by Royal Rhodes

Transported in your caravan was fun —
adventures far removed from zoo to zoo,
remembering the grasslands I had run,
a cub when my captivity was new.
Within the center ring that filled the tent,
encircled by the nightly roaring crowd,
I saw the iron bars the strongman bent
and clowns whose frolics made them laugh so loud.
You trained me with a chair and snaking whip
to snarl and shake my Samson-tangled mane,
and placed a cigarette upon your lip,
so calm it drove the audience insane.
They gave a gasp when you spread wide my paws
and placed your head between my ready jaws.

Royal Rhodes is a retired professor who taught classes in global religions, the Classics, religion & the arts, and death & dying. His poetry has appeared online and in a series of art/poetry collaborations for The Catbird [on the Yadkin] Press in North Carolina. His current project is a poetry/photography collaboration on sacred sites in Italy.

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