Consider the Liger

Consider the liger –
ask yourself whoever could have forged
his fearful lack of symmetry.
Most likely it was a careless zookeeper
who thought all big cats
should hang out together –
He did not
consider the liger.
The mega-cat, they call him –
those who’ve read too many superhero comics –
they do –
consider the head,
twice the size
of his tiger mother’s
consider the acid-wash orange body
that could stretch to twice
your tallest cousin’s height –
the one who always
ducks when he comes to visit.
Consider what the liger does not know –
observe him walking
like he is his own heavy load.
Consider the warmth
in his full belly.
He lives only here.
He lives only once.
Consider the dull bliss
of sterility.
In the wild world
he could not be.

Then consider this –
perhaps at night,
when the liger closes his eyes
his cage turns
into a Douanier Rousseau jungle –
the bars sprout gigantic
tongue-like leaves
and heavy red fruit
juicily hangs beneath.
Inside,
grass shoots up to dizzying heights
dancing with the wind
to the tune of a mighty river
and jewel-eyed gazelles –
stop to drink the water,
then prick up their ears and flee,
leaving behind a silken rustle
and in the middle of all this
the liger sleeps
and does not see.

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