We old lion tamers

usually cry

at the damndest times:

reading the newspaper on the toilet,

watching TV while everyone sleeps.

An old lion tamer

can cry looking at the refrigerator.

We remember how it was.

We don’t want any more paws.

Away loud growls and scary eyes,

away hurtful incisors,

once and for all.

We move around our houses

as we did our cages,

backs pressed against bars,

brandishing whips

in case they try to sneak in.

“Back, lion!” we snap.

“Back, beast!”

Even when we crack our whips

and shout commands,

we’re still crying.

It’s not easy being a retired lion tamer.

We remember all those times

we were six years old.


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