The 2River View 18.2 (Winter 2014)

Romana Iorga

The Lion

Every angel is terrifying.


He comes in the dark, breaks doors,
muscles his way through windows.
His wings wrap around my heart like sin.
His words run through my blood
like blood.

The morning after, an absence
has fallen across the bed—
a cavern of fear.  Even rumpled,
the missing feathers prove me

Where is the lion who will eat of my heart?
Where is the lion who will dream in my skin,
stretch his paws out of this loose
hide, his limbs already heavy
with slumber?

Where is the lion’s shadow,
the only one I can look at and not go blind?
Thick-pelted, well-fed, it must rest elsewhere,
its mane gathering darkness, the weight of its wings
achingly mine.


My nights are now full of dark coats
buttoned up on emptiness.
Black shoes carrying nothing
walk out the door each morning.

I wake up to layers of bricks
around my body, each day
one more layer, the cat
already howling on top of my head—
a mad woman.
The cat might as well be dead,
for all the good its shrieking will do.

I have this watch in my pocket—smooth
as sea-glass, perfect.  It doesn’t work.
I take it out every so often.
It always shows the right time.

Soon it will be dawn.  Hungry aches
will circle around my knees, small vultures,
aiming for the heights of this stern rock.
Each day such an Everest.  Still,
they sail quickly through their own storms.
My head in the clouds, I must look invincible.

Down, down to the valleys
of contented housewifery and full bellies,
the mouths of children opening
like orchids, calling, calling.

Romana Iorga is a Romanian-American living in Virginia. A graduate of the University of Minnesota creative writing program, she currently teaches English at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

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