I had a lion as a pet.
by William Dean

I fed him raw flesh and watched his
scouring tongue scrape it from the bone.
He would purr poetry from his honey throat
for as long as I could bear to listen to
that beautiful horrible truth
and when I begged him to stop
he would give a black-lipped smile and
chuff a laugh, swishing his tufted tail.

I leashed him and strutted about the city.
He kept his obsidian claws sheathed but
on standby as we explored sewers and skyscrapers,
wandering the fetid pipes and gleaming glass boxes
like we were searching for something.
People would stare and say that I must be insane
and that one day he would surely eat me.
Their stares gave me a secret sinful pleasure.

The best days were when he let me ride him.
I would straddle him and grasp his rough mane.
He would run into the wind, both of us scenting for gazelles.
Devouring all we saw, we followed the slope of the land,
up and up, until it seemed we could climb no higher.
His gliding stride and his sounding roar carried us
into the dusk until, exhausted and dusty, we
surrendered to sleep and dreamt of fences.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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