I saw the beast, he says,
Eyes wide, worn cotton blanket tucked
Under one arm.
With a jaguars body
And bear’s feet
And a lion’s mouth—
What did he do? His mother asks.
Maybe he’s ugly but he’s not so bad,
Maybe he’s powerful but gentle still, maybe
He walks the earth just to tell us something
Good and whole and pure.
He wasn’t, mother,
The boy whispers, afraid.
Everyone worshipped him, and
Him alone. And they forgot God,
And all the children danced around him, and
They were happy, very happy.
So? His mother asks.
So, he says, shaken,
He ate them all up.
All of the children danced around him
As he ate them one by one:
Very happy, very happy,
Then nothing at all.