Jeff Weddle

Into the Wild

The limp of the tiger 
stalking the ragged ape 
under a dying moon. 

Nothing lasts. 

Even the kudu understand. 

They don’t run. 
They don’t even skitter. 

The limp of the tiger, 
the puzzle of a dead man 
beside a dirt road, 

a man roaring 
just yesterday. 

His woman will never know
the truth. 

The ragged ape
turns to face the tiger, 
sizing up the limp. 

In a small house
miles away
a woman
who does not yet know
she is a widow
makes hard love 
to a boy half her age. 

Everything is vicious. 

The boy basks in his good fortune 
as the ape continues on his way
and the tiger gives up
and looks for a place 
off the beaten path
to sleep.

Waking up
or sleeping forever,
each is just the same. 
The tiger is ready for what comes. 

The widow screams in ecstasy.

The boy believes he 
understands something  
he had not known before, 
but he is wrong.

Love is a possibility 
but, as even the most ragged ape 
will tell you, a good death
is less certain 

and definitely matters more.

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