They’ve painted your tank blue so you forget
how your paws flung moonstone stars across the
Northern Lights, how your cubs, seal-small, clung to
falling spires of snow and scarred, songless ice,
and are nothing now but cartoons flaking
on the old tank wall as you swim back, forth,
nutshell-bound, a queen encompassed, apart,
damp with the heat, the sun, the boiling rain.
Children swipe at the wrong side of the glass,
frenzied for a glimpse of those claws, those teeth.
But we have made a pet of you, my dear:
a bauble, an accessory, a toy.
Like the swans that the rich import as pets,
you are decorative, wings clipped.