Hyena

The hyena has a happy heart:
hearts, hearts, many hearts.
The hyena has a happy heart.
At noon she seeks them,
at dusk she finds them,
at night she grabs them, bleeds them, eats them.
The hyena grins at the scent of a lame one,
one in mourning, one in pain, one barely breathing:
weak ones! weak ones!
Sometimes they fold themselves into her jaws;
mama, they cry.
She swallows the flesh.
She loves the blood, the silky gestures and the scrub,
the matted hair, each forlorn whimper.
So what if the lions hate her.

From Hyena. First published in The American Voice.