Hunter

In the beginning, I was wild. Hunted before I was born.

How long did it take, wandering, before I noticed your hand? Before I bit your palm?

My teeth sank into Your flesh, drew blood, shattered bone. And yet you didn’t fight it, wanted me to come.

The faster you came, the more I raged against you, wandered wounded, sought the flesh. Hiding in the thickets, tangled in fences, how far did I run while you chased, paws in splinters, fur streaked red?

Half from my own doing, I snarled when you finally came, bared my teeth, showed my fangs.

And yet you came for your mark, just as you always had, as I’d always known that you would. Resting, you let me struggle, let me bark, tear my fur.

Exhausted at last, I lay broken, tired, swollen in tears. Snared in my own cages, how I hated your face.

“How long have I been broken?” I wept, “Why was I made to be wrong?”

“Broken?” you asked softly, though I knew you weren’t surprised. “You’ve never been broken. I chose to make you this way.”

“Wrong?” I demanded.

“No, different, but beautiful all the same, my daughter, my girl with the fire tail.”

With that you stroked my fur, smoothed out my rumpled ears.

“Why?” I asked, angry, trying to fight your hand.

“Because I love you, daughter. Because I always have.”

With that I was finally snared, the final noose a crown.

Lifting me up, you held me close, untangled my paws, metal, thorns. Letting me claw, you washed my wounds, set my bones, brushed my fur. Spent, I slept in your palms, let you pet me while I slept on your chest. With time I grew stronger, healed, learned to see the light. I lost my fangs, fur grew in, smoothed to the finest red.

Once I was wild, hunted. Now captured, found, in your arms I am free.

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