To Samson from Never-Delilah by Tawni Vee Waters

Mighty one, I
would have whispered

How can I take your strength?

never would have lulled you to sleep
so I could whip out my razor
and scourge your dreams with my screams.

Wake up! The Philistines are upon you!

To me, you were not something
to be conquered. You were
my once every five hundred years


the miracle no one notices
except the ones who are watching star charts
waiting for this sort of thing,
seers who believe
the sun is more than burning vapors.

Rastafarians say strength is in the hair
but I never believed them, my lion,
until I saw the way your zookeeper
sheared your mane
with such a sinister grin

a joker
a devil
a leering demon

and you let her
watching rays
shudder from your sun
until it was nothing
but a shadow.

Afterward, you slumped
bald on that rock
blinking in darkness
nursing your wounds
mourning your

private apocalypse.

I longed to hold you
until your light grew back,
but there was that fence
and your keeper
brandishing her metal
pointing to your collar
reminding me it bore her name.
I wanted to tell her

you were no one’s pet

but how could I
when she kept you in that cage
begging for scraps
doing tricks
for her Philistine guests’ amusement?

I imagine
you wept
into your pillow at night
wondering what exactly
had left you.
Did you think it
was me
hopping a train to nowhere
leaving you bereft?


Your sun may go out,
but I will always be the clever girl
in red
standing on the other side
of that fence
reminding you

you are a lion.

My love,
see there?
Your hair has grow back.
Though demons attacked
put out your eyes
take my hand.  I will
unlock your cage,
lead you backstage
to the pillars
of the pagan zoo
place your hands there
watch your blind eyes stare
at God
while you flex and groan
until ancient stone cracks.
I’ll die beside you, singing,
cherubim winging
as we bring Satan’s kingdom
Philistines thrashing
into their home

in hell.

About Tawni Vee Waters