by Megan Collins
I’ll admit I did it, too—loved a lion
I’d never heard of until he was dead.
Scrolling through photographs, I fell
for his amber eyes. I even noted how—
in some poses—he seemed as benign
as my golden retriever, asleep at my feet.
When I read of the arrow in this lion’s side,
the forty hours he suffered, I felt my throat
stiffen like cooling wax, felt my eyes
sting as if exposed to flame.
For days, I said his name—Cecil, Cecil—
but I had to Google the woman (Sandra!)
who died in a jail cell, who’d been dragged
from her car, pulled by her collar like a dog.
I loved her, then, too—how she fought
in ways I’ve never had to, how her smile
in photographs made me want to smile back.
Her laughter, I imagined, would sound like a song.
But—how easy it is to love a victim.
How easy to love what’s already gone.
Megan Collins holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. She teaches creative writing and literature in Connecticut, and is also an editor of 3Elements Review. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Compose, Linebreak, Rattle, Spillway, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal.