tiger's eye

i am the firstborn cub

to my mother and father

born to complete what they lost

in their own life cycles

as a reincarnation sent to

redeem

the regrets nagging behind their sleeping eyelids.

i never saw their hopes

as a pressure chamber squeezing

my body into submission

instead i gazed up into

their tawny eyes

desiring to please

the beating hearts

in their purring chests.

i mimicked their ambition

their academic drive

until i stiffened into

a perfectionist cursed

into a life of disappointment. failure. procrastination. discontent.

i admired their regal stance

their flaming strength

but most of all their

eyes

glowing against night darkness

with a fearsome light that penetrated me with

its willpower.

though black lines encircle my belly. tail. strong shoulders.

as if the bones of my rib cage bled through my fur

and drew out the distinction of my face

like a painter’s articulate brushstrokes

though my ears curve gently

in perfect semi-circles like oven mitts

and my whiskers are white

as snowflakes' pure tendrils

 

i am

a white tiger.

i do not have their

pinkly scrubbed nose

or their burning orange

against black coloration

or their eyes. a dark amber.

i have eyes

piercingly cerulean

like the waters in the Dominican Republic.

before i was born

my grandmother dreamed

of my eyes. their shape.

i was not destined to follow

the stipulations of a firstborn

cub in this family of orange.

i was born without color

save for my eyes

as a black and white artist

using only the blank paper

plus the deep stain of raven's ink

to create worlds that would last

between the covers

behind the spine

overused by millions of

pairs of eyes

both tawny and blue.

i would transform the black lines

encircling my fur into shapes

letters joined to words

that would turn my

black and white dreams

of writing

to the color i could only find

in the world.

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