Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

         Two Poems

by Dan MacIsaac

Kauai Orchids
Every orchid is terrible,
blitzkrieg of color
astonished along branch
and bole and vine,
conflagration in leaves,
firestorm foliage,
napalmed petals,
hot shrapnel
of hue masked
by covert moss
or erupting
from crass root.
Yet all this
ecstatic wildness,
each freak tincture
of flame, is fed
by narcotic mist,
sated by the grey
opiate haze, soft
oblivion pooled
below crag, that
cataract of rock
broken by gale and
seaborne hurricane.
Barbary Lions
Lured by musk
of a staked goat.
Roped and crated
in the thorn lands.
Freighted thundering
from a barbarous coast.
Destined for the dungeon
of the white tower.
Dark-tufted demons
lurking in a pit.
Goaded by keepers
and royal gawkers.
Savaging mutton
from old ewes.
Fattened on flesh
of traitors and thieves.
Long in the tooth,
garroted and flayed.
Carcasses dumped
in a fetid moat.
Skulls dredged up
as spoils of science.
Booty scoured,
labelled and bagged.
No untamed terror,
bare echo of wild.
Note: DNA analysis indicates that lion skulls excavated from the Tower of London moat date back to the Middle Ages and belong to a magnificent, dark-maned North African subspecies extinct in the wild, the Barbary Lion.
Dan MacIsaac’s poetry has appeared in many journals, including The South Carolina Review, The Malahat Review, The MacGuffin, and The American Journal of Poetry. Brick Books published his collection, Cries from the Ark in 2017.