“Spirits of the Wind” by Citrakayah; 2010

My kin stalk the savannah.
My kin stalk the savannah.
Embodiments of the wind,
They chase down prey as easily as drawing breath.
Their golden eyes gleam,
Their golden yellow pelts
Are bedecked in jet black spots.
Their tails give them course like a rudder.

They are the wisps of the savannah,
Magnificent predators like no other.
Is any other cat so swift?
So thin?
Is any other cat so peaceable,
Yet still possessing of the heart of a warrior?
Is any other cat so beautiful?
For what is more beautiful than the wind,
As it embodies itself in sinew and muscle:
The lean body of a cheetah.

No other cat can bend so well,
Their spine flexing like a piece of elastic bamboo
Each time they take a bound.
No other cat can compare to their speed
Their beauty
Their grace
Their intrigue.
What secrets lie behind those amber eyes?
What intelligence is inside that streamlined head?
What kind of creature inhabits that fey body?

I know their instincts,
Having experienced them first hand,
But I cannot guess at their philosophy,
If indeed they have one at all.
I know their society,
Their behavior,
Their habits.

For these I sometimes share with them:
I stalk the corridors of the city,
Living in an urban savannah.
I too live for the chase,
Though my quarry are not gazelles.
And I too am a predator at heart,
Perhaps not the top one,
Much like my wild kin are prey to lions,
But I am a predator.
I think like one.
I am not content to remain and defend against a threat,
I seek it out,
Run it down,
And finish it with a chokehold.

My eyes burn with feral fire,
My hearing is always on alert
(Though I’ve been known to miss sounds
When on the hunt for something else).
I may prefer not to fight,
But I do when necessary.

So I am a cheetah,
Yet… not a cheetah.
I am not one in body or soul,
And not even completely one in mind.
What right do I have to lay claim to their name,
To claim their species as my own?
None, perhaps.
Or maybe I am indeed a spirit of the wind.

— Citrakayah