Panther Heart

I don't want to fight anymore. I’ve grown depleted from the push.

I used to be a tiger, tenacious and hungry for the hunt, chasing shadows down until answers were found.

Running after the Mystery like my survival depended upon that meal.

I thought I was learning to be still like a lotus after the bloom, finding purpose in the light making beauty from the muck.

But some big cats are only still at rest, subdued by the sun, ignited by the moon.

Where have I traveled in the darkness with my Panther heart, through great black nights to find reprieve in the morning?

Maybe that's why I’ve been adorned with sickness and pain, to give me the means to stay in one place, night or day.

Maybe its why I'm never at home anywhere I go, with a snow-leopards will to be alone at the edges of the world

competing with a lion's dream to be in a pride with the King.

You wont see me walking the fence these days, domesticated and yearning to be wild, for I’ve fallen off too many times.

I never found balance after all, even though that call came to me when my journey started.

When I departed on that ancient road, I didn't know one needed footing and I had none.

It’s hard to find when you're running on a frozen path, slipping on iced-over memories in the blizzards of your youth.

I thought I was searching for the truth that would set me free one day.

Isn’t that what they say? Knowing is half the battle, right?

No one tells you the other half is a fight for choice when you integrate the voice of the lesson with the chorus of experience.

And very few lessons are learned without getting burned.

That's why they say our scars are badges. They mean we made it through the war alive.

You can see it in my feline eyes open wide in the dark reflecting the stars, retracting my claws for the climb,

closing my mouth for the feast, keeping still for the hunt,

and preparing to make peace with the sun.

Copyright © Sheyorah Naify, 2021
Art: Panther by Summer Thornton

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