In the dark place sits the lion, curled up, caged.

It breathes its own stink into everything, filling the small apartment with a dust that never seems to evade. Even if you think you’ve cleaned the place up, a ray of light will reveal the tiny particles still floating around, still trying to get into your eyes and mouth and nose, still hungering for a place to settle. She lies on the ground, flashlight pointing upward, feeling the soft carpet under her hands. She listens to the darkness outside, and placates the lion with hazy promises.

Better and faster and stronger.

I will be.

Smarter and quicker and wiser.

You see.

I am old and jaded but only inside, on the outside they say I have so much time.

So he just sits there growling in the dark, and sometimes I look over and apologize for what we are. The thing in the darkness, that is everything I am not, the rage and the wonder that is begging to come out. It’s dying in there, I can see. It’s thin and uncomfortable but I can’t set it free.

I never understood elephants in the room, lions in the corner seemed so much more fitting, it’s caged rage, it’s unfeeling snarl. An elephant just sits there right, an elephant does not roar, doesn’t as for more. It is stone, it is unmoving. Just like me, in the ground, rooted.