Something startles the brides--
Hundreds of them.
Little flowers fall from their hair;
Carefully set tables are overturned,
Their white shoes are used as bludgeons
In jealous rage.
Grooms writhe within the wooden door frames, gnawing.
They appear industrious--
Will there be any threshold left, by sunset?
Can fire remove them?
What of their hats?
(a feral, using bark and dust to rub her soft skin tough)
Sits in the high place with Cheetah Mother,
She of the long claws.
They hold no truck with the tumult below--
The panicked brides.
The unwholesome grooms.
Cheetah Mother will teach her the loose-backed sprint,
The blood-mouth, the sated moment.
Cheetah Girl will make a deal with the stars,
A trick rolled in sorghum,
Her own black and yellow dream modeled after the one she sees.
At dawn, they will trot right down the throat of the bride herd,
Silly dazed cream puffs sitting blank and finished on the ground.
In the afternoon, they will watch the blaze and the old wood falling,
The last interlopers sent to hell in a spray of red sparks.
Cheetah Girl will know it is time to go.
There will be others after her,
But until then,
She has her own high-sun way of invoking God--
She will not see Cheetah Mother again,
But she has learned every lesson by heart
And will survive.
That will have to be enough...
And the east African sun;
A red eye on the horizon,
Starting to rise.