Duped

That lion, the one with the thorn in its paw—
How’d that get there, anyway, that thorn?

And what’s that kid’s name? Aesop knew.
You know, the boy who pulled out that thorn
and was no sooner forgotten as we all
fell in love with the lion. We all remember
the lion.

But I wonder, how did that infamous
thorn so conveniently find its way
into that paw garnering all of our
Sympathy for that rat…I mean cat?

No one tells that story.

Perhaps the lion left Pyongyang on a
freighter, a trade for three North Korean
children, and ended up in the wilds
of some sub-Saharan desert
in fast pursuit of a pokey canine pup
owned by a great Mauritanian warlord.

Entering the thick brush beneath a Red Acacia

on the scent of that pokey little puppy

(who himself had come sniffing
innocently for rice pudding),
our Pantera leo may have crouched silently.

No one would have been there to record

the bloody demise of the pooch—

that moment when Jung Poo (oh, let’s just call

him that for fun) leaped forward to sink
his chiseled canines deep into the puppy’s
adorableness, and inadvertently and rather
unremarkably landed smack dab
on one of the smallest Acacia thorns in the thicket—
Jung Poo, heavy with that lust for fresh meat
would not be deterred.

Just thereafter is when the little Greek tike

might have wandered by spying the beast, who sat

licking Pokey’s life juice from its chops.
Cunningly, the cat flashed the pricked paw,
and probably gazed up sheepishly with those
puppy-dog fed eyes, stealing our and
Androcles’ heart.

As for the latter part of the tale,
The part when Androcles is thrown
into the lion’s den only to face Jung Poo,
who greets him kindly in that public
forum completing the tale of how mercy

is often reciprocal?

Don’t be fooled.  A lion is a lion,

and Aesop told fables.

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