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.