A blind cheetah listens to its paws
scratch the yellow grass.
It’s body is as nimble as a rubberband.
It can smell the lions and carribou,
the baobao trees, a hint of raincloud three months away.
It squats in the open and lets the breeze
lift the hair on its back and neck.
The sun is out, the heat blurring its spots
but not its vision.
For the lemurs and zebras, it’s daytime.
But for the cheetah it is always night.
A black room made of silk and sound.
The trembling bass of elephants,
the rushed static of stampeding wildebeest,
the crickets that seem to croon
underneath its white breast,
their brief ballads echoing into the night.
That is when the cheetah knows
what it sees, everything sees.
And it squeels and yips into the night,
stands with its body tight to the ground
and launches itself forward, folding itself in half,
propelling, throwing, hurling itself,
I can’t say where or how far or if it will survive,
but it doesn’t matter.
None of that matters to a cheetah running blind.