General Poetry posted February 13, 2018

This work has reached the exceptional level
I left my dart in San Francisco.

Ode to the Captured Mountain Lion

by Sis Cat

Puma, panther,
cougar, catamount,
mountain cat, mountain lion,     
by whatever name you claim,
by whatever number the game
warden will name

your GPS collar and ear tag
once you awake from tranquilizers,
how did you enter San Francisco?                                                                     
Did you pussyfoot across
the Golden Gate Bridge,
like a fog-cloaked coyote?
Did you swim the currents below,
like Shorty’s horse, Blackie,
in ‘38?

Or, more likely,
did you roam from the hinterlands
to establish your own homeland?
I can’t say I blame you
for sneaking into the City.
I’d live there myself if I could.

Your kind inhabited this land
long before mine.
So, who’s invading whose habitat?       
Now, you lie
unable to wake,
unable to stand,
before an open cage of exile,
on the bed of a pickup marked
Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Two darts pump
Telazol into your rump.
Your body spasms.
Your strapped paws twitch.
Your hooded head drools.
Cameras click: CAPTURED!
You appear almost human,
like the condemned
about to die in “Old Sparky.”
My sister-in-law in Prescott said,
“If we found that mountain lion
in Arizona, we’d shoot it.”
Count yourself lucky
you live in a state that banned
sport hunting of cougars,
and whose State Fossil
is your ancestor,
the saber-tooth cat.
When you awake,
unhooded, GPS-collared, and tagged,
you will range Crystal Springs     
amid creeks instead of concrete,
amid trees instead of trucks,
amid mountains instead of mansions,

and you will roam your new home
away from our homes,
and hunt deer instead of dogs,

but we will track
your freedom
as long as you live.


Free Verse Poetry Contest contest entry


California Department of Fish and Wildlife captured a mountain lion in San Francisco on November 10, 2017. This sparked me to write three poems: "Nose Knows"; "In Ivy"; and my present poem. I still have six pages of leftover lines totaling 1,200 words, and I may write two more poems.

Video KTVU. Image San Francisco Chronicle.

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