She stalks the cage, eyeing the crowd -
golden eyes wary, she leaves them unwowed.
She settles down, closes her eyes,
ignoring the people and thinking of lies.

She'd woken one morning, looked 'round for her kin,
and then seen with horror the cage she was in.
She struggled – no point, there was no use;
try as she might, she could not get loose.

Betrayal and fear had wound through her heart,
for she and her kin had not been apart
those many long months since she had been born,
and her lion's soul into pieces was torn.

There's no trace of pity in that murderous eye,
and I get the feeling that if she were to try,
she'd rip all the bars from their place, and yet
she's the most beautiful creature that I've ever met.

The lioness seems to be reading my mind,

and stops her playing at being kind.
She bares her teeth and leaps at the bars,
the few people present run for their cars.

I stay on and watch. She's intriguing, this one.
She looks back at me, her wildness gone.
Her great golden eyes are letting me know
that she likes me, she thinks. I'm not a foe.

The voice in my head is her gentlest noise,
letting me know I'm not like other boys.
I've a gift for this speaking, the lion tells me,
saying, Please take me home. Please set me free.

I unlock the cage – though I'm not sure how,
and she flows out like water, with almost a bow.
We trot home together, through darkening air –
each of our secrets in the other one's care.