they say that i love wrong, that the
beat of my heart in my ribcage is like the
beat of paws on the dusty ground,
ba bum, ba bum, ba bum, fast-paced
and animalistic. and there is filth
on my body, they tell me,
that they would like to remove.
i laugh and they flinch at the way
my mouth curls back to reveal sharp teeth.
i would rather live my lion's life
outside of a zoo-cage, i tell them.
here, among the grasses, i can
let my heart beat, ba bum, ba bum, ba bum.
here, i can feel wind on my back as i run. here,
my feet kick up dirt behind me, evidence that
i've lived, evidence that i've loved. here,
i am free.