Ze Tiger

The haze shifted, the veil, never lifted, but it’s passing revolution about my head though allowed short glimpses through the fog of my understanding through to the outside world, and into her eyes.  Only her eyes, her eyes were what captured me, like some endangered species she caged me in the zoo of her obsessions and I was well fed upon waves of never ending attention.  She never pushed, never prodded, never wrestled lest it was play.  There in I found the struggle, the thrill of the hunt now gone, it was in these desperate lonely eyes that I found solace, I found home, yet even so, I feared for my life, always backed myself into a corner.  Always clinked away in the edges of my room, clung to the lamplight at night and cursed it all the same.  Children tormented my dreams, I would but bite, had I not known it came at the cost of too many teeth.  I was all but imasculated and tethered to this lonely island where the only comfort was my keeper.  I was allowed as much time to prowl in the safari as I liked, and loving it could find no better place to be, but in the arms of my lovely keeper, who could not for safety’s sake venture out with me into the jungle.

There were poachers in the midst of the crowds.  You could smell them if you had the nose.  From me, they wanted a great many things.  My balls were an ancient Chinese medicine for erectile dysfunction, my teeth sold as so many trinkets- necklaces or earrings mostly, my skin for it’s warmth and style, my meat for so many exotic restaurants and even stranger billionaires.  My captivity did not discourage them.  They came to the windows and licked them or kissed them, leaving messages in lipstick “Hello Love” upon the window pane.  They rattled the chain link, raking pens and knives or bottles of water over it, back and forth, back and forth, taunting, calling.  They’d rile me up into striking, into biting, if they could, and slowly, surely they’d have me, bit by bit, as the great Kahn was deconstructed, liquidated into their pockets.  It was more than I could bear. But my keeper kept me, kept me safe,  kept me happy, until their last trick.

Having found us nuzzled up against one another the poachers discovered my greatest love, and therefore, greatest weakness.  They waited, they plotted, I knew for weeks they were up to something, taking pictures from afar, looking this way and that, escape routes, and modes of transportation, they set up perimeters to block off patrons, they hid cameras here and there, in bushes, in trees.  They poached not only parts but process, they poached performances and sold them to television men in need of cover stories, blooper reels and animal Discovery Channel series.  They lacked any shame, and that with my rage became my undoing.

They waited til late, til feeding time, when my keeper came to feed me meats- three different kinds.  They laid low as she opened the gate, and quickly caught it open, and in the backroom a one snuck in, while the rest stood outside and rattled my cage.  The one having snuck in, hid in a closet, I could smell his fear, his treachery, excitement.  My love fed me, and so I supped and she stroked my ears and rubbed my nose, as the poachers rattled on outside my cage.  She soothed me and comforted, but to no avail, I charged at the gate and claw catching one of their hands.  Curses they called and spewed forth with blood, as the man screamed for help but found there none.  My darling dear keeper when out to greet them, with a great many insults she chastised the poachers, who laughed in her face, and grabbed her and forced her on all fours.  My rage grew within me as she cried out in pain, I roared so ferociously but I roared in vain for the cage grew all around me so much smaller just then, as I knew I was helpless so locked up in my pen.

Then a curious thing happened, the hidden one unhitched the gate, unlocked the door, and hid again, before I could catch him, I roared and I ran and I charged at the men, struggling with the clothes of my keeper.  I lunged and just then, they had caught me, netted me and dragged me away inside of a truck.  And whisked me away from the loveliest keeper.

They cut off  my balls, the tore out my claws, they pulled out my teeth and they skinned me alive, they took my eyes, my ears and my tail.  It’s a wonder I am still alive.  I can hear all their saws getting ready, smelling crooked.  I whine in the night, I have no more roar.  The fight is all out, and my weapons are gone, I have only hearing and smell and it burns and it bleeds and it’s sterile and ugly.  I feel the whir of air, just around my neck.  The end.

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