This tiger shadows us, its low-pitched growl more like soft murmuring waves on shore over and over. peopledopeopledopeopledo
Eighteen, just got his first job as a mechanic, too busy with his car to be a gang bro. Believed only in engines, souped up three before he was sixteen. On the rubbish-strewn street, under the hood checking out the timing, caught in a drive-by, three bullets in the back. Tiger laments: peopledopeopledopeopledo
Our spectral tiger crawls through barbed wire, wanders through office cubicles, playgrounds, enters a small liquor store. The owner for fifty years sprawled below the empty cash register four bullets in his chest, his arthritic hand clenched around the cigarettes he thought the thief wanted. Our harbinger tiger whimpers: peopledopeopledopeopledo.
This one a teen-age girl. The hole somehow perfectly centered, the blood a red bindi, lips jaggedly red, nails blue polish with sparkles, cell phone, gun next to her. Text read “you slut!” Why, she didn’t know, she only knew her boyfriend left her. Tiger moans his message: peopledopeopledopeopledo
Tiger pauses, its huge paws rest beside a body, seventeen bullet holes— count ‘em, seventeen. She was only three. Is there room in this tiny body for seventeen bullets? Her little fingers open, reaching for her doll. Tiger, now a keening cry: peopledopeopledopeopledo
Tiger moves on, his shadowy camouflage barely seen in barrios, bars, schools, shops, movie theater aisles, supermarkets. His dirge trails behind: peopledopeopledopeopledo.
Our tiger achingly remembers: guns don’t kill peopledopeopledopeopledo. Our spectral tiger wanders off, incoherent with foreboding grief, his half-truth warning drags behind. He meant to be Hermes with his message, perhaps he was, but as the guide to death.