We Are the Lions

We mustn’t forget where we came from.
We’re as wild as the animals we hate to be compared to
and as interested in staying alive
as the gazelles grazing together
in the vulnerable openness of the plains.

We should be commended for our attempts
to nurture our morality, that byproduct of cooperation
that has given humans the slight advantage
in accumulating a population
which relies on numbers.

And though our competitive nature
has given birth to wars and gods we only imagine
are on our side, we can still feel sorry
for those outside our in-group,
who work for peanuts to make the clothes we like to wear

and the ones who clear the dishes after dinner,
make our beds and clean the floors.
We convince ourselves they have a choice, that captivity
isn’t the right name for it, that it is our right and privilege
to be hungry, or to devour.

DeMaris Gaunt

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