A horse’s heart weighs more than you’d think.
Make them work for it,
the keeper said,
so I hid the organs and quartered head pieces
around the sagging chamber,
a macabre and ridiculous game.
But the cold heart I placed prominently,
with a sickening wet slap,
on the apex of the slab. And the lions roared,
a gut crushing, ancient wail
while I grappled with rump meat,
velvet nostrils and black scared eyes,
and the lions didn’t care,
foaming with want, restless
like I was for you for all those years.
She licked the shoulder to the bone,
with a blood-stained lipsticked muzzle
while he worked teeth through hair
coarse as untended pubic down
no fingers would claw, rake or search
but the cubs,
still young enough to share a ribcage
that took two of us to carry,
ignored the carnage and stared me to stillness, ticking off
the last day of my cycle.
They can smell me,
crouching beside them,
heat with slivers of copper,
thick and heady between my legs.
They were too stupidly new to do anything
but notice, watch and wonder at me—
paws as absurdly oversized and dangerous as yours—
me with my too-thin legs wrapped in tired denim
and spread like an afterthought of an offering
only for the animals.