Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lions of the Work Week by Jeramy Dodds

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.

+ + + + +

Jeramy Dodds grew up in Ontario, Canada. His poems have been translated into Finnish, Icelandic, Swedish, Latvian, Dutch and French and have appeared in a number of international journals. He is the winner of the 2006 Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award, and his first collection of poems Crabwise to the Hounds, will be out this fall from Coach House Books (Canada). This poem, Lions of the Work Week and the illustration above Lounge Lions were recently published in Issue 9 of Upstairs at Duroc magazine which is now available from WICE.

This is part of a series of poems from invited poets. Previous contributors were Luke Heeley, Joe Ross, George Szirtes, Elizabeth Spackman, Ivy Alvarez, Rufo Quintavalle, Todd Swift, Michelle Noteboom, Beverley Bie Brahic, Ethan Gilsdorf, Amy Hollowell, and Choman Hardi. Illustration by Jonathan Wonham.

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