(Based on sightings reported
in the Kansas City Star)
The latch didn’t click.
Grackles, feeding nearby, looked up.
Treefrogs in the hedgerow
halted evensong, then churned
their hysterical chant to higher decibels.
The lion nuzzled the gate and stepped out,
So emblazoned, it shivered at itself.
rumors of the escape,
five, ten years apart,
but few will believe a lion
walked away through a ripe wheat field
while the world slept like a circus drunk.
They will say another kind of beast
subtracts their herds
one calf at a time,
slides down furrows, circle barns and silos,
parts the corn with its own colors.
Not many find an unlocked door
or startle certainty with a silhouette.
Some have seen a lion
walking in Kansas ,
have gone to quiet their horses
in the glare of the moon
and found its print
deep in the crusted snow.