6.08 / July 2011

The Tiger Below

The tiger below me is emerging from the waterfall.  The shadows fall across you, the light falls against you.  We have tried to clean the rabbits.  We’ve tried to splinter their sumptuous muscles in preparation for the dinner plate.  I am among the trees, daily, and I do not always bring my whole self back.  Sometimes I leave a few skins, sometimes I leave a few bones, or my eyes swirling at the bottom of a lake.  I wrap myself in a fur of musk and pine and blood, and return half-changed to the cabin.  You have told me, “Come home, my sweet, come home.”  But I don’t know how.  Haven’t I provided?  Haven’t I sung, sometimes, with you in mind?  I have carried the rabbits back to you.  They hang on the doorknobs with rust seeping into the cuts.

Lovely, darling, my prince, you bring the tiger out of me.  But I have found the heart has too many chambers to walk into, too many wet caves that need to remain hidden.  I have also found that the rabbit has too many hearts to rip out with satisfaction.  Sleek berries, the silky entrails that wind around the floor.  The rabbits have awakened to their strange confinement, to their new bodies.  The rabbits are slipping in the rivulets born in their red chests as they jump to open the door.  The tiger around me is becoming wild, my dear, I’m leaping, enraged, and savage.  The rabbits are strained, they are losing strings and strings of hearts.  Plump, mucousy fruit slide effortlessly out of them.  The pacing and circling and hungering, I am squashing sweet skeletons into the wooden floor, and now pacing, and now circling, and circumventing, as the last voice hyperventilates, the last hysterical hiccups, the trilling lullaby that lasts benignly until succumbing to the ripping crunch, the end that most of their kind sees.

I cannot be here much longer, my dear.  When the cabin unzips and the orange shows beneath, I am out again, out again, and the loathing will stop, you will be gone from my head, and no wily rabbits.  Dear, my sweet, don’t worry, I’ll come mostly home again.

Laura has published in Eclectica, Prick of the Spindle, Arsenic Lobster, and other journals. Her work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Find her at http://laurabender.blogspot.com/