Panthera by Parthenia M. Hicks
By GAtherton

I imagine your birthmyth: 

earth humid, steaming with gases, 
plasma rising, cells undivided,
blood floating homeless.
It was the first day, not the sixth, 
before darkness became night 
and night became ebony or jet.
Your unformed jaguar-leopard presence
hung like a mysterious seed in the round, 
empty ball of earth, 
like air inside a balloon, 
waiting to fill up the future land:
Africa, Asia Minor, China, and India,
North and South America, Mexico.
More moon than sun in your cells,
more sprinter than long distance runner,
over five hundred voluntary muscles framing 
your future lore.
Did you, with your binocular vision, 
“Argos of a Thousand Eyes,”
guarding the heifer IO who was loved by Zeus,
foresee shotguns and rifles, 
runway furs and amulets with claws,
the garden paved, the forest looted, 
pilfered and burned?
Did you, who would be written in the Abodazara,
as surname for the family of Joseph,
performing a healing in the name of Jesus ben Panther,
know, on that first day,
when your claws dug into humus
and you married the lunar darkness 
that you would die first in North America?
When you imagined me by the river,
why didn’t you circle and attack from behind, 
bite through the temporal bones of my heathen skull,
murder or shapeshift before the sixth day could be written?

©Parthenia M. Hicks