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Paula Bohince – IV

Tiger Licking Its Leg





Three-petaled pink of tongue.  Unkissed

perhaps since cubhood,

mother long wandered, the mouth asserts calm

assurances all over the chaotic body.

On high rocks, fierceness softens, as Heaven

reverses Earth’s sins.

Furred as a bee, striations of stripes like rivers

forking nowhere.  Pupils narrow

in pleasure.  In the hot dawn, his whiskers,

curling tail, those danger-sensors, are put on low-

alert, in this the new day’s caress.





–after “Tiger Licking Its Leg” by Komai Genki,

1747-1797, Japan