in which I hypnotise a tiger

By Khairani Barokka

not made for blake quotes and tinder profiles.
not squandered for bullets slung as attempts
at gumption. not slit with knives on colonists’
orders, then strung up. not sold to a venture
capitalist who’ll place her pale feet in heels
and on you. not vanishing. not a chipmunk-
cheeked emoji. not bedtime threat to children
in cold climates. not CGI recreation with an
underappreciated actor voicing you. not a
bevy of ill-advised tattoos. not the hangover.
not sports team embodiment. not go get ‘em.
not taxidermy. not species forgotten. not a
name used for foreplay. not a fantastic form
of balm for soothing creaking muscle tissue.
not a totem for my calming alone. not tired
and misunderstood and hiding and rotting
and gone. scream without shame or fear of
banishment. this is no forest of wounding,
tribulation, dust of your bone. lick your paws.

                                                    open your eyes.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Reproduced with kind permission of the poet.