Ceremonial Evolution

Man shifts beneath the surface,
slithering fingers along the spine,
moving the animal against his will.
Natural, painful—
The bones expand, shoving against
the bestial skin as it bubbles up,
man struggling against his cage.
The creature instinctively consumes
what he longs to become.
Visibly a beast, mentally a cannibal, he awaits change,
ritual dancing in the metallic tang of Kwakiutl blood,
mouth stained red, full of the life he devoured.
The human is invisible beneath the feathered husk.
He crinkles his smooth skin sheath,
impatient as a geode waiting for the crack
to reveal itself so he can emerge,
a triumphant gem.