Larry D. Thomas: “Puma, Cougar, Panther, Mountain Lion”


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.