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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Bill Gottlieb

Fearful Symmetries

“Tiger, tiger,” my fiancé sometimes says sweetly to me, appreciating my force, will, wildness, soothing my people-eating beast. Last night there was a tiger in my dreams: My wife had died, as she did fourteen months ago in the living room, her last look crucial with love, and someone – the state, a corporation, a thief – had taken all of our containers out of a warehouse in the country and moved them to the city, including our many animals, the pooch, the duck, this tiger. A mean, lean, manic man – a shirtless carny, ready to roll the hayseeds, fool the foggy fathers, screw the drippy daughters – taunts the magnificent creature, the life-large feline, my sabered feelings, sheathed in the throes. It’s his now, or so he thinks. And so I think, think again: about the mate who perished in my primal arms; and the warmed woman I want to marry, carry across the threshold of my shadow; and the many I eagerly defeat in the labeled enclosures of my mind, my hurt feelings – who wounded me mortally in the forest of my nights? – out for meat fresh as a face.

first day of spring
two bold birds in the dappled road battling
over love