A Tiger’s Tale

I tried to catch tigers by the tail when I was small
mom told me how
but I was always sleepy and woke up tigerless
like I do now trying to catch sleep
as elusive as those tigers
instead envisioning mad worlds of the tailess
turning over and over and over the sheets getting tangled 

my feet always trying to push them whole
so if I do sleep I’ll wake up in a real bed made
the way it should be
tight with corners sharp hospital ready
when I earned a dime from mom to do it right
never understanding the reason for such a 

bed like I do now.
I hear the trains near my house at night
like rain waking me to rythmically loll me back
the cadence of the water spot on
the equal clatter of the trains just as spot
carrying wet tigers
licking wet paws and hinds
before they sleep as I try to with a wet face and coarse towel
before my tight bed with corners calling a good night
for only a dime
not much of a cost in these costly times for a tale
of mom stories and sleepless nights where tiger’s tails
take guises of whatever it is that keeps you awake.
I don’t know what it is that keeps sleep at bay
but trains and rain and tigers help
the clock of my mother’s heart
beats and ticks to
lull me to furtive sleep
when I think of her tigers
and their tales.

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