“Regulus” by Jenny Bates


(for Cecil)

When in the heights, Heaven was not named,
And earth beneath did not yet bear a name…
—Enuma Elish, Babylonian creation myth

What if I say?
Heart of the Lion

Now, what if I say
Heart of the last Lion…

Moth, gripping the window screen
wings tight against whipping wind and cold.

Fox sits hungry, among buzzing bees
oxeye daisies.

Don’t stray too far from letters
low and lowest each

one is immense, throbbing with excitement
to be clawed on the page!

Greek and Roman lion head fountains
pouring out life. Life is strength.

Strength is Lion. Heart is Lion.

Lion dreads us only slightly less than other
unfriendly encounters.

Will Lion become a scribbled word
without a heartbeat or swish of tail?

Anthropocene’s erROAR
written with sympathetic ink, invisible ink,
disappearing ink.

Jenny Bates, North Carolina. Member of Winston-Salem Writers. NC Poetry Society, NC Writers Network. Published books include Coyote with Coffee (Catbird on the Yadkin Press, NC 2014), Visitations (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2019), Slip (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2020). Known local animal whisperer to Donkeys, Coyotes and “Crow Folk.”