The Decaying Lion

(February, 2004; not likely to go anywhere)
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Sometimes I think you've not been reborn. It is impossible to say you've not been rebirthed - you breathe as often as I, and I've heard your heartbeat on more than one occasion. Yet there is a renewal that comes from death, flowing from life to life like a wave that reaches its lowest before swelling anew, and somehow you have missed it.

Looking at you, I see what you were - what you have not stopped being, as if afraid to let go. You were a lion, stalking the savannah on silent paws as the antelope leapt aside, and you are one still, but there is no pride here. Unable to rest and rise again, this beast is decomposing, falling to the earth because it took no time to draw strength from it.

You are so beautiful; your shoulders have more grace than most complete bodies. As you move, the muscles draw across them, sleek and fluid, but when you glance a certain way, it is obvious that all is dead underneath. The lion's fur is falling out in clots, and when it rears up to scream, the great creature's ribcage protrudes greyish from just above its tattered belly. You are a king that was felled by something low, I see.

You are a lion who refuses to admit defeat, not realizing that defeat in this way is simply a chance to grow. Your skin is too tight now, constricting and showing off your fangs without the benefit of your softness. You are already dead, but have forgotten how to return from the void, and its darkness shines out from the places your mane used to cover.