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Waiting for the Beast

Donald Illich

Because the beast is coming to visit,
I've prepared my body to be eaten,
rubbed myself with garlic, added
rosemary and thyme, a big fat apple
in my mouth, ready to be a meal.
Leaving the door open, I scan
the horizon for its approach, a happy
animal singing about good mornings
and slaughter. It might be playing
with the sheep, using them as currency
in a brutal poker game. It might be
practicing being venomous in a reflective
pond, his growling face still not
intense enough for the killing it'll do.
As the victim, I both want to help it,
give it a super-heated hug, and wish
for its disappearance from this world.
Why should my flesh be that which sustains
its being, and the other predators become
more fearless because of its victory over life,
some dressing as grandmothers in beds,
others sneaking behind rocks, prepared
to topple off a cliff and splat on the earth.
I just fear the touch of its black paw:
how it chilled me everywhere, how I knew
this was the only thing I would ever feel,
so I should bless it, give thanks to the world.

Donald Illich

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