Nemean Lion

— Jayme Ringleb

Flaying him, all
smeared hair

and pelt-plate,
I forgot

the olive tree
and club. Forgot

the crushed
throat’s bristling,

the thistle flowers,
fruit I picked

from unmanageable

Forgot the quiver
of arrows

I needed to
feel his skin,

to know it,
to find skin

for what skin is
made of.

I’ll remember, though,
the skinning,

the tilt
and roughness

of the lion’s claw
against the lion—

Flaying him,
freed there

in the closed
cave, with all

that cat meat,

to a hermitage
of skins,

some way myself
in him—

I knew
to hold him

with me: how,
saying Love,

I am saying
always Him,

and him,
and him

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