Monday, January 1, 2007

The Patron Saint of Writers

He is old, scrawny, his back hunched
from study, his fingers gnarled.
What harm can this man do,
busy at his pen-scratching?
But see? The old man’s ink-stained hands
stroke the muscular back of a full-grown lion.
The paws, big as plates, and heavy,
flex their claws. The jaws rumble.
Wherever the old man shuffles, the lion follows.
They are inseparable, best of friends,
the dry, cerebral scribe, and the hunter
who will crack your biggest bones with a snap,
whose favorite flavor is blood, who loves
the raw chewy muscle. The writer bends now
over a text extolling the mercy of God.
The lion rubs against his leg and yawns,
showing, then sheathing, the always-ready teeth.

Cheryl Gatling

published in Atlanta Review

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