by John Grey

Cougar sleeping in a cage.

At this roadside attraction,
a mountain lion in a cage
is the main draw.
Even behind bars,
his ferocity dwarfs mine.
I stare in big eyes,
wonder what they want.
The tempered growl,
on the other hand,
can only mean one thing.
It’s not a prisoner’s grumble.
It’s straight from the slaughterhouse –
the kind where the creatures
prefer the hammer of death
to the cramped undignified waiting around.
The cougar and I both know a little about pacing,
how, whichever direction we choose to go,
something intrudes, blocks our way.
I stand so close my hand, his claw,
are almost touching.
He’s aching to be set free.
I long to be what he would do with his freedom.

Category: Poetry