My grandfather told me once of a shepherd named Hemat, 
meaning willpower in Farsi. Some farmers dragged his bloody body 
to my grandfather’s house when my grandfather was a boy, peering 
around the porch with wild eyes. 
Hemat was known in the village as a poor man who never ran from anything, 
not even poverty. His land knew love 
and his sheep ate before he did. 

He didn’t run when the leopard came. 
As the beast charged his flock, he began wrapping his coat around his hand 
into a ball. As the beast leapt, he stuffed his hand in its mouth, forcing it down inch 
by inch as if sinking a shovel into the earth. It clawed everything besides his face, clawed madly until it suffocated, and then clawed 
in spasms, jerking in its death-dream.

The body on the porch had scars so deep 
my grandfather has them, as do all who saw Hemat that day, his unscratched face on a body of tomato pulp. Most people there now 
don’t remember a shepherd called willpower, but they remember that once in their village 
a man killed a leopard with nothing 
but a coat. Only a few know he was Hemat long before he was Hemat leopard-killer.