Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tora Tora

We saw you in the Kyoto zoo
Pacing behind bars
Incredulous at how you came to be
Captive of weak prey like me
I do not know if you started wild
Felt one day the bite of the tsetse fly
And awoke with shadow lines across your patterned back
Or else you were born behind walls
Nursed and fed milk from a bottle
Till your playful claws and jaws
One day went to far and your baby eyes
Turned into slitted mankillers
We saw you
As people milled about laughing
And children shrieked with joy from cage to cage
Frightening peacocks and monkeys
But not you
You looked into my eyes
And I knew
You could kill
The next day on the news we heard it
The old zookeeper
Cleaning cages
Had forgotten to lock you out when he locked himself in
You took him from behind
Shook his neck like a ragdoll
Left him broken and bleeding
And four children fatherless
It is hard to be mad at you
Any inmate would attack the one who imprisoned him
Especially one like you
A natural born killer
Stolen from nature and put on display
Dreaming of the hunt and sniffing prey

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