The Tiger

I was magnificent,
the perfected mane
of a dark and menacing wind,
a fierce love that
stalked in the tall blades.
Nothing was more perfect
than my hunt,
the prey that fell to me,
like devoured kingdoms.
And though I killed,
I bore no grudges,
because in me
the recurring seasons of blood,
returned,
in me all striving remembered itself,
and life attained its
burning form.

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When the Tigers are Gone

No one mourned the passing of the tiger
in the expanding towns
that lay heavy like a carcass
on his old hunting grounds.
And now there are no more man-eaters
and no more gods,
and hollowed of their ancient fears,
the townsmen are slow and sad.
The festivals of hysteria are all gone,
the nights when women told stories
to terrified children are all gone.
When the last one fell
in the dust of a dying world,
the stripes burned to the souls
of all the people,
fled to the lost grasslands,
unseen forever.

White Cat in the Garden

It seems everything wants to disappear
in your white clouds of cumulus fur.
Even the early summer sky
is tamed to something smooth and un-reflecting.
What doesn’t plunge in
and never reemerge to this place of
unreal divisions?

And we know that the day can only begin
once it has passed through
the terraces of these arcane eyes.
Whether it rises like a garden
full of dreams or prey,
or falls beneath a shadow of roots,
depends on the way you will
flick your listless tail
in the moment of your rising.

White cat in the garden,
is it that this hydrangea path,
like all things we are surprised
to chance upon, springs from you,
in this long hour of the fierce guardian statues?

Cat in the Long Grass

This country of the untrammelled grass,
that weaves into fingertips playing songs on the luxuriant breeze,
is your kingdom.
From this oak to the splintered fence, you hold a vast realm of the moment,
perched atop that old stone staircase that leads us
deeper into the idle days you keep here.

If you need it, this grass is like a cape you can pull over yourself,
absorbed in the verdant pleasures of your prowling dreams.
If you need them, these towering branches
are places to test the lightness of a soul.

When you linger here, everything, at last, has its place,
the trees bedazzled with coy ivy, the birds forever out of reach,
teasing your claws,
the cicadas’ bright cotton rolling down to you like a carpet.

And you lean into the hours bestowing a feline order,
a flush world humming with life spending itself.
Brief king of the afternoon, how you spend us,
who dare to approach and pay homage,

spend our lives like doubloons, like a plummeting sun.
What circumstance do we presumptuous ones have to rival you?