Hancock Hill, on one of whose
northern flanks our house rests,
is not one but several hills
bunched together and separated
by arroyos choked with yucca,
cholla, prickly pear, and whitebrush.
Yesterday, two hikers emerged
from the arroyo near the dumpsters
beside our street, their eyes still wide
from their sighting of two fresh
mule deer kills a half-mile or so
from our house. Local naturalists,
they could tell by the way
the carcasses were ravaged
the kills were the work of a lion.
As they drove away, I pondered
the countless nights it must,
in hunger, have circled our acre,
inching silently through the darkness
on the pliant black pads of its paws,
the circles of its stealth shrinking
with each soft, deliberate step,
tightening the noose of wilderness
around the dewy-eyed throat of our sleep.
Larry D. Thomas, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, is a longtime contributor to the Green Hills Literary Lantern. He has published twenty-three print books of poetry and numerousonline chapbooks. Thomas was the featured poet of the February 2021 issue of the Delta Poetry Review. His poetry and fiction have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Arkansas Review, Valley Voices: A Literary Review, Concho River Review, Voices de la Luna, Review Americana, and elsewhere. He resides in the Chihuahuan Desert of southwestern New Mexico.