I’ve loved you like a leopard cub from the day
You stalked into my classroom —flip-flopping
Around the circle of desks— staring at me,
Wondering aloud: “who the hell is this guy?”
You —who crashed like a meteor, at 14, into my life
On that too-hot September day— began to wreak your happy havoc
In a stagnant place that unknowingly longed for you.
Like Odysseus readily recognized his long lost Telemachus,
We knew our souls knew each other.
You were a problem child I wanted to solve;
So I picked you up and carried you in my gritted teeth,
Slapped you around with a tender paw until you fell into line.
You were just like a lost leopard cub, separated from family,
The one that had a twin but needed to be on his own.
We’re leopards, you and me -social, secretive, and solitary.
But when I spotted you alone,
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