I caught a tiger in the high grasses,
casual, without force or mystery,
not knowing that she was the last of her kind;
for a moment we lost our fear of extinction.
I spent nights watching the dark stripes
shine on her back, holding each breath
between purrs as she slept, and all
was silent taxonomy when we woke;
for a moment we lost our fear of existence.
The brushfires raged as she yawned away
the myth that had enshrouded us. And we
went weeks without human encroachment;
for a moment we lost our fear of captivity,
I and my tiger of cotton and seams.