A Tiger’s Tale

Going back a few years on this one as I rummage around in the Attic.

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 tailless

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 in a real bed made

the way it should be


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 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 sharp 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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