Something Died (a poem)

Something died. A tiger
leaping through a flaming hoop
For the first time. I lived but
Something died.

In the wilds I knew
What I was, what it meant
To be alive.
Friends were few and foes
Fled at my approach

I sharpened my truculent claws on the trunks of ageless trees.

Now, tamed and captive,
I capitulate before
An astonished audience
for they know where I belong,

I sharpen my claws on the chairs of profiteers.
I sharpen my teeth on the
Bones of love.

“Home is through
the flaming hoop,” screams
the crack of the ringmaster’s lash.
I feast on their neutered platitudes and pray for living prey.

When I leapt something died,
It wasn’t pride, it wasn’t pretty
The stench of my singed hide
Fills the patrons with pity.

I stalk this circular nightmare, sated,
under-compensated
Waiting for the rest of me
To join the best of me.

©2013 Baye McNeil

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