The Lion

By Mona Arshi
Read by Tiffany Gray

How unstable and old he is now.
Lion, like God, has snacks sent up

by means of a pulley. Although
you can never master the deep language

of Lion. I am made dumb by the rough
stroke of his tongue upon mine.

Nowadays I make allowances. We lie
together and I hear the crackle of his bones

and when I bring myself to open my eyes
he weeps, his pupils resembling dark

embroidered felt circles. Sometimes
I think all I am is a comfort blanket for his

arthritic mouth. But many evenings he’ll sit
twisted behind the drapery solving my

vulgar fractions with nothing but his claws.
Lion and I break bread; I tend to his mane and

he sets a thousand scented fuses under my skin.
He starts undressing me under the sweetening stars.

Please girl, he mews; this might be the last time
I will see how the thin light enters you.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

"The Lion," from Small Hands, Liverpool University Press, 2015. Copyright Mona Arshi. Reproduced with permission of the Licensor through PLSclear.