I thought circuses with exotic animals had been banned.
It seems I must be mistaken, though, as this poor beast was sitting in the heat of the afternoon in a tiny cage just outside the village bull ring today.
There were several other white tigers, two ‘normal’ tan tigers and a lion, in other cages. Most of them were fast asleep, which is hardly surprising given the fact the sun was shining directly onto the metal trailers.
I suppose it will be a bit cooler this evening, when they perform, but I won’t be going to watch.
Surprisingly, given my fondness for felines, and tigers in particular, this seems to be the only poem in my files that has a tiger in it. It’s an old piece, based on notes taken at the Madrid Zoo, which has changed a lot since I was last there, probably a dozen years ago. I gather they even have an albino tiger now, although, presumably, with a lot more space and shade than the circus animals.
At the ZooFlamingoes paddle in dappled shade.
Tigertongue rasps against the nap
of a ripple of striped velvet; lazytail
flicks into the pool and cartwheels
a sequinned arch. Ducks float by, indifferent,
and an electric-blue dragonfly resonates
with the thrumming heat.
In the aquarium, a flounder
ripples across grit. Underwater plants pulsate
like a collective consciousness
of maggots: fleshy, blanched and sexual.
Parrotfaced turtles and gilled rocks levitate
among the tattered silk of underwater kites.
Angels, hunchbacks and horned devils
pucker fishlips to the glass.