Throw Away Tigers / The Paper Tiger

by heytherewildflower


Throw Away Tigers/ The Paper Tiger
A wholly white tiger is the result of a genetic mutation featuring a stripe-pattern visible only under reflected light. Although the mutation does occur in the wild, those with it rarely survive, as they are often rejected by other tigers, and are easy to spot by prey.

Stripe-less white tigers exist.
When a stripe-less-ness persists
despite nature’s intention.

Deception at inception. [human tinkering]
Her genetic exception, only visible in reflection
that she herself is blind to. Whiteness’ roulette~

Desiring her white color, they bred her with her brother.
The father to her daughter, and the uncle of her mother.

The public lauded her son as foolproof meme fodder;
his fanged face, with age, becoming odder and odder.

Kenny the down syndrome tiger died in 2008.
For the record, he did not have down syndrome.

Merely, the same gene that causes the white morph
causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side
of the brain. Among other defects such as cleft palates,
scoliosis of the spine, mental impairments…

“The Deception of the White Bengal Tiger”
Stripes zipped up on the vertebrae – cross stitched
on the spine. Skeleton tiger wears his bones and hollows
on the outside. Mutant body, an illusion of shadow bones
and light hollows, as if negative space was space itself
desiring to disappear.

Ghosts sprung from the white man’s burden to see himself
in every skin, to refract rather than absorb. Cancerous
disappearing into each other, a homogenous cloud
of miserable flesh.

Folk from the snow, living in light, learned to yearn for
and comprehend pure whiteness as a device for reflecting
their bodies, denying darkness deemed unfit to slip into,
containing all colors, including blood, language of being
and not being, skeleton key.

You can end the misery by saying no.

Do not make any tiger angry, not even the sweet ones
who can’t even see you.

You learn to not see him, slinking like tumbleweeds
burned onto cement, as his cross eyes never see you.

He holds his stillborn siblings in his stripes –
like the twin who leaves a tooth in his twin as proof
they were once two, not only one who drained the other
in the womb.

Blood brothers, head to head, in their dirt and bamboo conclave.
Bastard’s stripe on bastard stripe, two wrestling desert shadows.
Heard and not seen – being only speculation of a colorless dream.

[I see you in my genes]