The Manticore

Rose of a savanna that spans as far as my thoughts can think; beauty fetched from the world’s brink where the thirst of men can drink and never be full.

I was given the heart of a lion and the skull of an ape, somehow a house to lulls in my faith and aversion to change. To some I’m a children’s tale, to others the most dangerous game.

Lonely daughter befriends the
beast as her companions make
plans to seize me

for my skins.

Mount its head
upon our tavern’s wall,
the orange torches


And to that end, it feels I haven’t been seen in eons, save for the rare peon’s offspring who lives in books and loves to sing. She stumbles in my path at the tail end of summer, and asks if I’ll love her in ways her suitors never can. I am her lion, and she is my lamb, but my hands themselves are weapons and she cannot hold their strength forever in hers.

And when father and brothers come wielding pitchforks in place of pleas, I’m still a savage, a creature without adjectives, malice incarnate, and I can’t prevent the carnage their midnight chants will bring. So I tell my young friend to return home, safely behind their line of crossbows.

I am her lion and she is my lamb, and I’ll
be damned if proved the
monster they all

say I am.

The arrows fire, and I sing just the way she taught me.


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