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Linda Ramey

Tiger


Here your stripes reveal you: the naked weight,
the eyes that lit the green of a continent
half-a-world from where you prink your ears

toward car horns on Connecticut Avenue
and people who belly-up to the wall
with ahs hanging on the backs of throats.

Here you fill the ground with pacing,
with purpose held between your massive shoulders,
the beastly beautiful in the turn of that huge head.

And here your scent leaps, becomes a tongue
for the loose frame inside your hunger,
inside a rigging of stealth,

the knotting of muscles behind a knee —
that retelling of the same story.
Who’s to say the pattern takes hold

or it’s you who takes hold of the pattern?
The thread unraveled or in place,
the people leaning over elbows and arms

at the something that’s caught your amber eye,
your body holding the secret where only you
can see its shape, can hear its breath

anxious in a contraction of lungs — the hunt
crouching on each point of the fangs
in your brilliant mouth wide with roaring wealth.


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