The Lion Wears Sneakers

Caleb clutches his mother’s leg.

With the clash, crash, and boom of brass

gong, cymbals, and drum, the white lion dances

closer. Its head whips out at the circling

crowd. His mother’s outstretched hand

holding a folded dollar bill

disappears into the lion’s gaping

maw. Eyes shut, Caleb screams

into his mother’s thigh. A hand settles

on his head, coaxing and comforting.

Blinking through tears, Caleb raises

his head, reaches for his mother’s fingers.

As the lion dances away, its rising

flank exposes black pant legs and sneakers.

The dancers beneath are a revelation

to Caleb, washing away his fear.

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