How many men walk the docks. How many stop 
to consider panthera tigris tigris. How many fail 
to see tiger. How hard not to mimic tiger’s growl, 
tiger’s swat. How hard it is to see tiger chained 
and not think Me Mine It. How small is the cage 
of possession. How hard it is not to buy a tiger.

How hard it is to be the tiger. How pug marks 
circle. How intent tiger is on leaving. How weak 
are the bonds of man. How far into swamp 
does tiger go. How does man chase believing 
this is who he is. The Man Who Owns Tiger. 
Believing in man. Believing in tiger.

How tree forms shapes for tiger. How tiger takes shape 
beneath tree. How tiger chuffs to tree. How swamp gas 
beckons man. How man feels he is called. (Deeper in. 
Deeper in.) How the chase turns his mind to himself. 
How night deludes. How future retreats. 
How man last knows this life. As man. As tiger.

How thick pulls root. How tangled swims bladderwort. 
How swallowed man can be. How the story of were-tiger 
grows. How children play this out. How they contest 
to see who will be tiger. By hands shaped into claw of tiger. 
With a lunge and the growl of tiger. Between the stripes 
of tiger. How hard it is not to be the tiger.