Poetry 2014 / Volume 45

Tiger — Brandyn Johnson

I don’t know how it is for rats, pigs,
or snakes like my brother, but when the red calendar

in the red–walled restaurant told
me that I was a tiger, I took that fortune

with me in my corduroy pocket.
What perfect sense this made to me,

an explanation for why I liked to climb
stairs on all fours,

why–in fights–I felt
the desire to bite instead

of slapping like some monkey
or kicking like some oafish ox,

why I slept in semi-circles, my spine an orange slice
striped by sun through slanted blinds.

Even now I find myself hungriest at night,
rummaging through stuff

to tear open with my teeth.
I wonder

when I’m lined up
between velvet dividers before

a bank window,
flanked by zookeeping guards,

& some rabbit or some cock
tries to strut by…

would it really be my fault?

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