a lion in winter
is a sign of sadness.
that there will soon be an end to mornings
when he can roar and stir dust
an end to his eyes scanning jungles
concrete and sublime
where his teeth become brittle like memories
that may clear the way.
but what they don’t tell you
is that a lion of the winter
is still and forever a king.
the roars inlaid with youth’s own gold and fire
and all things that mean power
is his own earned and shining crown
so he can put that in his pocket
and rumble low when he speaks
because you see,
his message talks loudest in the thunder.
the lion of winter
broke jazz out of jail
made bullets realize their own tears
and resuscitated souls stuck in sidewalk scars
young cubs hinged on his words
until they could form their own
and that gave him joy, you see.
don’t let them tell you
the lion in winter
is a heartbreaking sight
because the end is near
and that his scattered scriptures
because each roar
each rumble he made
is the born heart of another poet
the fervent blood of another writer
and if you truly listened
and loved him