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Friday, July 31, 2015


(for Cecil of Zimbabwe)
by Carolyn Gregory

This is the last known photograph of Cecil the lion (bottom) taken by Brent Stapelkamp before he was killed by the American dentist. Cecil is pictured with Jericho, a male lion who it is feared could kill the cubs of the pride fathered by Cecil. Source: White Wolf Pack.


All day, he walks beside me,
his long bones slower indoors,
his gold sheen growing rich
with brown and yellow
walking past my fans.

All his life, he has taught sons
how to hunt in the savannah,
crouching and leaping
behind tall grass,
how to go for the jugular
and to strip the meat,
bringing it home to feed the family.

He has shared ancient stories
of his grandfather, the cave lion
living by his teeth and strength
five hundred thousand years ago.
Regal and triumphant,
he haunts me now.


The dentist was bored
with his life of drilling and filling,
tired of his other trophies.

Africa called him back,
the roaring and howling of animals
luring him from suburbia,
pulling him away from snow
and malpractice.

One or two gunshots would be enough
to take down a great predator,
more satisfying than implants
and root canals,

a souvenir for the wall,
his ruff all groomed, the eyes
replaced with yellow glass.


Shoot him with a bow and arrow,
finish him off with guns.
Make sure it's done
so the skin can be harvested
and turned into a rug.
Be sure to wield a heavy axe
to take off his head.

We want to put it on
its lacquered wall mount.
It will look fine
near the yellow afghans and throws,
terrific in our rec room.

When the fire overtakes our woods
and timber falls asunder,
when the lion calls out
his wolves and bobcats
to tear down this house of plunder,

we will not understand
the voodoo medicine big cats call
nor the end of trophies
and bragging rights
nature makes due.

Carolyn Gregory has published poems and music reviews in American Poetry Review, Cutthroat, Main Street Rag, Wilderness House Literary Review, Ygdrasil, Seattle Review. Her first and second books were published by Windmill Editions in Florida.