Feb 272010

by Zan Bockes


The female 316 taught him 

an appetite for beef

from Table Mountain

on the eastern front

he slunk from trees

to reign among the tattered

sage and spurge  

the unsuspecting targets

of his maw 

chewing yellow grasses

the ranchers’

fury–$200,000 he took

stealing along fences

a wall of hair

an inescapable afterthought 

whose shadows slip 

into dread

and so was the price

as he eluded traps

for 13 sly years

bastion of a beast

he threw his fortress

against men’s wild ignorance

circumstances cueing up the film

from blinking cameras

his 540 pounds suspended

by all fours

vulnerability no one wants

relocation an empty fantasy

zoos too cruel

his victims lost their places

the chattel of their

lumbering hides

the chattel of their faces

broad and impassive

owners who cannot own

brought him down

inspected the tattooed 

upper lip worn from years

but still visible 

among the nubby molars

infection in his jaw

he grew too slow and careless

in an ageless landscape

his dissolving footprints

left a Falls Creek legend

a legacy of carcasses

whose dark blood

leaks across the sky.