the Book of Pain

Old lion
The old lion left his pride behind and set out
beyond the night. It’s a hard life on the high plains—
it takes courage, strength and endurance,
a belief longer than the day and a love as deep
as the hunt is hot.
Yet, now readied, this last time he went,
not rustling the grass, not raising the dust,
not even stirring the air, lighter then light.
And while he should have ranted at that night,
chased after it, torn into it and bought it down,
he didn’t; instead, he fell, going quiet and still at the last.
What a terrible silence that was and still is.
It was only later, under the sun, as we lowered him,
I realized that I—if no one else—could hear him.


Jack Etheridge, my father, passed away recently. You may have recalled that last year, about this time, he experienced a heart attack and the family feared losing him them, an event I captured in…

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