How it Started by Mara Lemanis

How it Started by Mara Lemanis


How it Started


It might have started

with a nod,

a handshake,

a mute pledge;

we watched wolfpacks

break bread as one;

you gored a grizzly

foraging my promised land,

I clasped your hand

as in a pact

You took the bloodied

rump and legs

I took the fur and claws,

we tested a fair share

as one

before ten million suns

set on our pact

and fattened into treaties;

we brokered and then broke

our debts and obligations

the Deuteronomy of

what belongs to whom

 and by what rights;


Within the sophistry

of civil spheres

we veil the gleam

our eyes make

when we meet,

we pledge fair fellowship

with social contracts

crumbling records

sealed with slings, spears,

chariots ramping siege towers,

cannons, tanks —

from primal clans I won the

bloody rights to your best furs

from primal clans you sued

to keep the thickest rumps;

that’s how it went

that’s how it goes

we grow great grizzlies still

and crown them

with majestic jewels

and fatten them

for pleasures of the kill

to do us proud

with gleaming tools

bold guns, sleek bombs

to help us keep on

 breaking bread

within our human packs.


 Mara Lemanis