A fireplace with wood carefully laid, unlit;
a worn leather chair in which to sit and read
these tomes, the Readings from the Javelin
Society—suggests the flight of light from heat,
suggests the days when hunter and leopard
were actually set ablaze in, let’s say, Borneo.
For in vitro, sunlight is lush abeyance.
For the leopard, it’s hard to die. With each step
her muscles seem to rip and bleed,
as blood through cloth, her skin on fire.
Can the leopard fear her own death, the slicing blow,
the rush of air, the whoosh her lungs make
and the thump of steel against her bone?
Can she know where her life ends and where it begins?
The leopard/ hunter dies. And if they leave
behind a daughter, as it were, in vitro, well,
she has their picture in the Readings to look at. But
there is no terror in their walk, no strife in their neck.
The blood in their lungs is venal blood, no longer red—
for even the late afternoon sunlight can be replaced,
in vitro, or so it seems. So cheap is life.