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It was the year I subscribed to an absurd

amount of magazines, there were lions everywhere.

Lions at the tambourines, lions in the gate house, lions

up the sleeve of your bible black dress, you could set your watch

by the screams, the shimmy-shackle of claws

on the hardwood floor wore down your ears, ghosts

of lions fathered our kids, lions of the long grass,

Barnum & Bailey types, we knelt at the scimitar scar

on the tamer's breast as valets brought lions upon lions,

lions going at us with the violence of a clearance sale, my wife

comes home with a lion between her legs, antelope musk

hog-tied in her mouth, bed-lamp bright wounds,

a yoke of tear-jars tingling from her nicked shoulders,

lions cornered in her cranium, the wedding dancers slain,

their scattered organs like gobs of fruit, lions

at the chink in our amour, lions on the owls, lions

like labs, the house pets snapped, lions loaded for bear,

lions at the crypt ledger jotting down kills,

plaster casts of claws above our cancer ward doors, lions

past the curtains of our ribs, pant like whistling arrows,

starved lions, hair painted on their bones,

lions in the yard with kids, lions

at the midnight fridge, chicken on their lips,

lions at the watering hole bullying

for beer money, lions mowing through

the Foot Guard, Beefeaters, Dragoons,

standing in perfect pecking order

at my bedside, waiting for me to snap

the bones of my watch onto my wrist and dress

in their gift of slipper-thin armour.

Lions of the Work Week

Jeramy Dodds

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