“Jack Gilbert’s Tiger. Originally Published:

Barrow Street, Winter 2008, New York 2008

Jack Gilbert’s Tiger

Standing at the pool table, drinks, of course,

he told us he wanted to die, eaten by a Tiger.

 

His protégé danced in the other room,

and the professors I knew lurched around her.

 

He told us he wanted to die, eaten by a Tiger,

as the protégé swayed, bangles on her arms, ankles.

 

And the professors I knew lurched around her

burning with Scotch and their fear of death.

 

As the protégé swayed, bangles on her ankles

Jack evoked a tiger so near it stank of rot and muscle.

 

Burning with Scotch and their fear of death,

the professors I knew lurched and groped the protégé.

 

I imagined a tiger so near it stank of rot and muscle.

and the old poet glanced at his beautiful protégé.

 

He told us he wanted to die, eaten by a tiger

as she danced and they lurched around her.

 

Standing by the pool table, drinks.  Of course,

the smell of tiger less real than our sadness.

 

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