i toss the lion’s paws upon the kitchen table,
its tail in a soup pot with rice and beans…
its head i wear, my heroic eyes peering through
its maw, a tiara of teeth / its tongue slung to the side:

Champion of the Gods,
i was born with a silver moon in my mouth.

Demon Slayer. Storm Tamer. Soothsayer. Fannie Lou 
Hamer tattooed on my ass’s jawbone. and when i roar
a billion lightning bugs pour forth from mouth soaring 
into the sky until all is overcast and dark; 
portentous by my own doing.

the folktale in the leaves of your teacup say: 

                    “a trouble is a-brewing….”


and this is how i come, in love, to you.

my heart folded into this tannery of pillow talk.
my lungs a sheath for all your loose skin.
my entire mouth a mortar for your sugars, 
sugar, come and grind all of your spices here…

the skull bone of a foreign love god is my cereal bowl
but the grains within are yet not sweet; let me steep 
you in its milk until the honey comes. 
i know, in you, there is honey… 

a centuries-ago prophecy sent me to your door 
and i smell the apiary you sleep in on your gown. 
even in your shadow there is sorghum. meniscus,
tendons, and gristle; not one empty calorie…

                    i beg you, love, to let me feast.


the 365 Labors of Kereenyaga Heru

each day i contend with throngs to keep you 
safe. happy. and draped in desire. i whittle mountains 
down into busts of you, placing each atop a pedestal, 
a pyramid, or a simple soapbox…
your umbrageous charm, to me, an ivory tower; 
this silhouette of us is a constellational song. 

the lion’s growl – from my own lamentations – creeping; 
with the husk of me at your heels, weeping.
and this is how i come to Heaven…

                    this is how i hunger you.