—after Richard Brautigan's "A Candlelion Poem"
What began as wildfire ends up
on a candle wick. In reverse,
it is contained,
a lion head in a hunter's den.
Big Game.
Bigger than one I played
with matches and twigs and glass
in the shade.
When I was young, there was no sun
and I was afraid.
Now, in grownhood, I call the ghost
to my fragile table, my fleshy supper,
my tiny flame.
Not just any old, but THE ghost,
the last one I will be,
the future me,
finally the sharpest knife
in the drawer.
The pride is proud.
The crowd is loud, like garbage dumping
or how a brown bag ripping
sounds like a shout
that tells the town the house
is burning down.
Drowns out some small folded breath
of otherlife: O that of a lioness licking her cubs to sleep in a dream of
savage gold.
O that roaring, not yet and yet
and not yet dead.
So many fires start in my head.
Copyright 2012 by Brenda Shaughnessy. Used with permission of the author.

Poems by This Author

I'm Over the Moon by Brenda Shaughnessy
I don't like what the moon is supposed to do
Me in Paradise by Brenda Shaughnessy
Oh, to be ready for it, unfucked, ever-fucked
Why Is the Color of Snow? by Brenda Shaughnessy
Let's ask a poet with no way of knowing

Further Reading

Related Poems
Blue Dementia
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Chosen by the Lion
by Linda Gregg
The sisters of the broken candle
by Eric Baus