June 26, 2014

While he sleeps, you could be
listening to Chopin or Bach—
the Nocturnes, the Preludes, whatever,
even Debussy’s Le Mer would do—
instead you are turning over garbage cans and scaring cats.

While you sleep, he could be
eating Russian caviar or tripe
or baby turnips from Estonia.
Instead he is prowling around listening for
the sounds of teeth tearing flesh apart—
as if you actually liked the smell
of blood and excrement—
as if you actually wanted to suck
fresh marrow from bones so alive they burn.


2 Responses to “Hyenas”

  1. Anna Mark Says:

    I can’t say I like this poem, but it is powerful.

    It’s interesting to compare realities (reflections) within sleeping minds. Dreams, really. Why not say dreams? Instead there seems an implication of some kind of awareness and interpretation that I usually associate with being awake not asleep.

    And then the presence of cats (women?).

    And death, blood and excrement, and a choice to feast on it.

    Hyenas….and we humans are worse, indeed.

  2. John Stevens Says:

    I’ve always felt that hyenas are about the nastiest and ugliest of creatures, Jim. It’s sobering to be reminded that we are even worse!

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