She Dreams of Dead Lions


She wakes up to a phone call,

she hadn’t realized she was asleep.

There was an accident they tell her.

And she walks in, past all the mangled bodies,

not bothering to swat the flies away.

Just hoping they were wrong.

That her family was safe in the country.

She wanted to look away,

but oh god it was them.

Her older brother looking peaceful,

her little brother a mess.

There she was, an orphan and an only child in an instant.

Left alone to decide

If she should bury her family separately

or the way they died-all together and without her.

For so long she had been gentle and beautiful

And now she was so angry.

There world has not been good to her,

she wants to watch it burn.

“They’re in a better place” Everyone tells her,

‘Yes,’ she wants to scream, ‘but that’s not the problem.

The problem is they went there without me!’

But instead she smiles sadly, and nods,

Develops a routine.

Wakes up, puts on lipstick and nylons.

You can build things in lipstick and nylons she learns,

But only if you aren't afraid to get a few runs in them.

She learned there was no shame in being pretty,

because being pretty was her only power left.

She was a queen in the body of a child-

a legend in the body of an orphan.

She decides then

that a god so cruel as to punish her by making her walk through the

hall full of stinking corpses

for the crime of growing up without him

was not one she wanted to forgive her.

They told her she still had time to repent.

To ask for forgiveness, for her disbelief and make-up.

And she, ever the graceful queen in her heart,

yelled back that she would not.

That their god should come crawling at her feet,

that he should ask her forgiveness.

The smell of death isn’t one she was like to forget or forgive.

She cries for hours on the day she laughs for the first time.

And she always buys detective novels,

though there is no little brother to read them anymore.

She volunteers at the hospital,

imagining her little sister, who was going to be a doctor, would be proud

And at night she weeps,

she screams into the night that she is too young,

too young to have so many ghosts.

but when morning comes,

she is a mask of lipstick and waterproof mascara.

There was not as much time for dancing and boys anymore,

the cost of burying 6 people is a tad more than

a girl of twenty had readily available.

After the first few months she stops crying so much,

not because she is less sad or angry,

but because she has simply cried all of her tears.

She still feels a hole in her heart,

gaping and big and dark,

an emptiness where her brothers and sister had lived,

a hollow place where her parents had lived too.

She never goes to weddings.

She always imagines how pure and lovely

her little sister would have been in white.

And she grows older like this,

grows older with her heart screaming

everytime she saw things they’d never have.

She dreams of wearing a lion’s pelt.

And revenge.

She dreams of a lion pouncing on her family,

all the while making her watch.

So he could come for her last.

By then she thinks she has earned her death,

oh but she hopes he chokes on her.

She dreams of a dead god,

dreams he lies with her dagger in his heart,

and the words he was about to say dying on his lips,

‘i forgive you child’

he almost says, in the dream,

and she twists her dagger in his heart,

and whispers to the god of her sister,

“look at all your forgiveness is worth,

maybe you should have sought mine instead.”



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