Hello again from the library. Shhh! Hey where are the Dewey decimal catalogs???
When the tiger speaks,
I am the one who dresses her words like a morning bride,
Changed and adjusted a dozen different times.
I live between the tiger's teeth,
And when she speaks, it is of blood, sinew and bone--
By the time these sounds mark the world,
I have made them roses, tall grass, and gemstones;
I lie between the tiger's teeth--
I always bleed
And am always alone.
When the tiger strikes,
She is pitiless and violent, but it does not seem that way to the one stricken;
To them, her warm breath and close embrace make her seem like a mother--
She lulls them, not into comfort, but into oblivion.
Will you be the one cruel enough to say the difference?
When the tiger sleeps,
I slip from between her teeth and lay close at her side--
I am one day dark, the next day light, and never of a piece,
And so she does not see me,
There, along her stripes;
She does not kill me,
Not even in her dreams.
When the tiger listens,
I have hidden inside her ears, and all she hears are heartbeats and sighs;
Each creature wants its own as badly as does any other--
Only men have vanity enough to believe otherwise.
I have stayed curved behind the tiger's claws,
Rich with the scents of swamp and lawn
And every solitary shadowed place between,
All of them reflected, distorted, in her eyes.
When the tiger, at last, leapt
Through a night window, I saw my love--
I saw her dark hair and her hand just there;
I felt her wild dreams and the softness of her throat...
I fell away from the tiger with her anger mute and dense,
Falling wet and stunned, heartbeat by heartbeat,
To the one who had called me