Lions Are Interesting

By Joel Brouwer b. 1968 Joel Brouwer
Each morning in the little white cabin   
by the river they woke to a raccoon   
clawing under the floorboards or banging   
in the wood stove. They did not discuss this.   
Instead they said it was a perfect day   
to pick blueberries on the hill, or that   
a hike to the old glassworks sounded good.   
They were beginning to speak not in meat   
but in the brown paper the butcher wraps   
around it. Brown paper around dirty   
magazines. Like dirty magazines, they   
only traced the contour of substance: silk   
over skin, skin over muscle, muscle over   
bone. What's under bone? Marrow? Their forks so   
small and dull. As if for dolls. You can tell   
dolls from animals because the latter   
are made of meat. Many eat it, also.   
Lions are interesting. Lions don't eat   
the flesh of their kills right away, but first   
lap up the blood, until the meat is blanched   
nearly white. White as the little cabin   
by the river they stayed in that summer.   
White as the raccoon covered in ashes,   
his black eyes bottomless and bright with hate.

Source: Poetry (February 2004).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

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February 2004
 Joel  Brouwer


Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, poet Joel Brouwer is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Syracuse University. Brouwer is the author of several collections of poetry, including And So (2009); Centuries (2003), a National Book Critics Circle Notable Book; and Exactly What Happened (1999), winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has also published several chapbooks. Brouwer has been . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Landscapes & Pastorals, The Body, Nature, Home Life, Relationships, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Imagery, Syllabic, Simile, Metaphor

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