The Lion and the Bear

Maybe my wife’s the lion.
Maybe I’m the bear.
Maybe the bars dropped down around us.
Maybe we built the cage.
Maybe we’re supposed to gnash
and claw each other
to a bloody end.
Or maybe we’re meant to sit
in our separate musks
until our fur turns gray
teeth drop out.
Maybe she keeps the key
tucked in the vortex of her left ear.
Maybe it’s buried
in my winter coat.
Or maybe there is no lock
and the door swings
open with a nudge.

Maybe I’m the lion
she’s the bear.
Maybe I should join a circus
she find a conscientious zoo
feedings four times a day.
When crowds on weekends
gather, maybe she would
recognize her spouse
among the fathers with their kids
staring from the other side
of inch-thick glass.
And maybe under the big
top I would see her
as my trainer, wielding
the whip and chair
then carefully poking her head
in my killer mouth.
Daring me to bite down.

Gregory Fraser

Gregory Fraser

Gregory Fraser is the author of four poetry collections: Strange Pietà (Texas Tech University Press, 2003), Answering the Ruins (2009), Designed for Flight (2014), and Little Armageddon (2020), all from Northwestern University Press. He is also the co-author, with Chad Davidson, of the workshop textbook Writing Poetry (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008) and the critical writing textbook Analyze Anything (Bloomsbury, 2012). His poetry has appeared in journals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and The Gettysburg Review. Fraser is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Gregory Fraser

Latest posts by Gregory Fraser (see all)

Author: Gregory Fraser

Gregory Fraser is the author of four poetry collections: Strange Pietà (Texas Tech University Press, 2003), Answering the Ruins (2009), Designed for Flight (2014), and Little Armageddon (2020), all from Northwestern University Press. He is also the co-author, with Chad Davidson, of the workshop textbook Writing Poetry (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008) and the critical writing textbook Analyze Anything (Bloomsbury, 2012). His poetry has appeared in journals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and The Gettysburg Review. Fraser is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.