They Say the Lion Is Dead

by Bruce Boston

They tied the lion on the plain.
They shot their arrows in his sides.
Before the city where he'd reigned,
Black vultures dived to pierce his eyes.

And in his fury how he raged,
With blood and sweat upon his flanks,
As if his very heart were caged.
His blind eyes wide to meet their ranks.

With dying roars of pain and hate
Against the hordes he could not see,
He shook the city's iron gates,
And cursed them for their treachery.

Scavengers and swarms of flies
Picked his bloody carcass dry.
His bones lay untouched on the sward
And bleached beneath a cloudless sky.

Now in the chill of winter nights,
The lion's soul begins to creep,
Along the city's rough stone heights,
To leave men crying without sleep.


Bruce Boston is the author of forty books and chapbooks, including the novel Stained Glass Rain. His poems and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications, and garnered a number of awards, most notably the Bram Stoker Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Asimov's Readers' Award, and the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He lives in Ocala, Florida, with his wife, writer-artist Marge Simon.

He says, "The word "cherry" makes me think of the 'fat cherry bombs' in my poem 'Future Fourth,' which can be found in my latest collection Shades Fantastic (Gromagon, 2006)."

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