Tiger Born in Captivity

by heytherewildflower

Born in Captivity

I pulled it from its mother’s blood, its little legs shuddering,
perhaps still blind, or perhaps too sick to open its eyes.

I placed my palm on the heart and cracked it like a crab shell.
And, gripping its neck, blew into the maw, tasting soiled scabs
and calcified milk breath. Its limp whiskers tickling me so softly
it stung.

I wondered, what if I had stepped on it? Squashed
its belly juices through its joints? What if I forced
its tiny arm at precisely the wrong angle? Crushed
the brain in hand over a madcap slip of thought?

With the sharp pop made by its chest breaking
opened a flood of potentials –an air passage.

He lived. Though,
flopped beside him,
the sister did not.