by Dirce

A stretch, a roar, he awakens
Shards of stone explode
Dust flies from his sable mane
As he rakes it with his talons
And flexes out his wide wings
As Goliath greets the night
All around him the others
Perform their evening ablutions
Broadway, lacking hair to comb
Rubs his stomach and sniffs the air
And wonders aloud at the scent
Spices, meat, and chocolate
Brooklyn and Lexington
Young, spry, and eager
Spring down from their perches
Hudson moves more gingerly
Uncomplaining but feeling
Centuries weighing on old bones
Bronx snarls and snaps his jaws
A pigeon, slow-witted or arrogant
Flees the clocktower in a storm
Of shed feathers and droppings
A close call, it escapes
The blue beast howls a challenge
Less concerned with pigeons
With his mentor’s age and aches
With his clan’s exuberance
Or aromas, wonderful though they be
Goliath looks down from on high
At the light-spangled street below
Old-fashioned shape and white-over-red
Her car stands out from the standard
Dark and silent, empty
Where is the woman, she of the dark eyes
That haunt his daytime dreams
And stir his waking heart
She is not here to meet him
To welcome him with her smile
Outshining the sun he’s never seen
Her light and casual touch
Burning him like a brand
Potent as a mate’s caress
Against his will, against his wish
His gaze is drawn skyward
To fix on the high towers
So dark against the emerging stars
Once home, now denied him
An enemy’s stronghold
The author of all his misfortune
Xanatos may be looking down
A chill brushes him and he imagines
That their eyes meet across the distance
That their minds share the same thought
Of a return, a rematch, a revenge
His fists clench in promise of victory
And he turns from the castle view
The clan has gone below and he hears
Their voices raised in surprise and pleasure
He bends his head through the door and stops
At the sight that meets him
Here she is, the secret love of his soul
Amid balloons, amid streamers
Beside a table heaped with gifts
And another spread with food
He descends to her and she comes to him
Her small strong hands clasp his
He loses himself in her beauty
“What is this?” he asks, and gestures
“Don’t you remember?” she replies
Goliath ponders, and Elisa laughs
“It was one year ago tonight,” she says
“Happy Awakening to you all.”
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