Narasimha, Fourth Incarnation of Vishnu

Magnificent mane, tawny fur, fearsome teeth
Narasimha, half man, half lion
Fourth avatar of Vishnu
Sent to save a faithful servant
Narashimha, on the hunt: terrifying, like Kali
May be calmed, soothed—but never tamed
The bloodlust, the struggle, ever there

Vishnu has enemies; enemies have children
One, raised to love demons, chose Vishnu instead
His father beat him: “Where is your god?”
The child waited, faith in Vishnu strong
Even if his father could not be killed
Not at day or night, not inside or out
Not by man or beast—Brahma’s boon

The lion-man comes forth, his roar
Deafening the world, except his
Pious child and his enemy
Who mocks: “What can you do to me?”
As with all bargains made with gods
Loopholes exist
Narasimha knows this
His enemy does not

He carries his enemy to the threshold
(Neither inside nor out)
He comes to him at twilight
(Neither day nor night)
Disembowels him with claws on human arms
(Neither man nor beast)
Brahma’s boon bleeds out

Narasimha hunts on, calming in his own time
While he rages, a child plays—finally safe

[Gerri Leen lives in Northern Virginia and originally hails from Seattle.  She has stories and poems published or accepted in: Escape PodGrimdarkSpellboundSword and Sorceress XXIIISpinetinglersShe Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror and others.  She is editing an anthology, A Quiet Shelter There, which will benefit homeless animals and is due out in 2015 from Hadley Rille Books.  See more at http://www.gerrileen.com.]

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