Tigers: An Essay

By Michael Aaron Gallagher

Tigers are striped people
with ears on top of their heads
like elephants
that go “moo”
and chew grass animals
in Chinese rice bowls.

They laugh like drunk monkeys
on the city bus ride home
and they jump around
like kangaroos with wings
on their backs
like guardian angels.

Tigers are from Heaven Street
which is two blocks away from “African Safaris”
and the public park bench
where I met Dave the homeless man
with popsicles and tickets to the hockey game
down at the beach arena.

Tigers don’t like noises
that keep them up at night
when they can’t sleep
because everyone is talking so loud
in the kitchen sink.

They don’t have to go to first grade
with lipstick on their cheeks
and winter coats and hats
that don’t fit right
because they can’t cross the street
without holding someone’s hand.

Tigers are versatile creatures
who bang their heads against the wall
until they’re too dizzy to hang upside down
from the edge of the couch.

They don’t like fighting other animals
unless it’s absolutely necessary
and their father says it’s okay.

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Excerpt from Michael Aaron Gallagher’s unpublished book of poetry titled “Worn-Out Cinema.” Copyright © 2000.

The above work is not to be used,  reprinted or broadcast without written permission from the author.