A purple lion
Guards the gate
To my dreams

I bring him hunks
Of my raw and ready flesh
And an ice cream
Sandwich just in case
Purple lions prefer
That sort of thing

He gives me a milky grin
Flecks of chocolate
Dangling from his chin 

And I slip through the bars 
Which have somehow
Become elastic and yielding
Stretching to accommodate
All of me
Even the self-made steaks

I carry them in plastic
Grocery bags wrapped in
Sheets of unfinished poems

The lion doesn’t seem so
Scary after all but
I cling to my butchered bits
I can’t help worrying 
I might need them 
On the way back

Photo and drawing by A.C. Smith