Monday, November 30, 2009


The Manticore lies at the foot of a rock
with his scorpion-tail arching above—
obsidian, with a pearly gleam of poison
at the tip. His mane is scarlet.

The sand all about is bare of tracks
for even snakes fear him.

The sky above is empty of birds
for their shadows fear him.

The Manticore wears a human face
but asks no riddles. His ribs are hollow.
He speaks the tongue of famine
to unlucky wayfarers. He drinks blood.

The desert is without roads
and the wind fears it.

The Manticore chews a camel's tibia
to splinters, then to dust. He has
no saliva. His teeth are like a man's
but bigger than a hyena's.

The world is free of monsters
but we fear our own shadow.

--for Miss Rumphius' bestiary
Collection available! Knocking from Inside

1 comment:

Steven Withrow said...

This is wonderful. So full of riddles and reversals. I'll be coming back to this one.