The Eyes Behind the Bars of a Cage
Her tiger face is majestic even as her body contorts in agony,
as she labors on the floor of a cage.
Panting, hurting, not knowing there is more pain and
ruthless torment yet to come.
Black velvet stripes on vibrant orange and white fur,
graceful limbs and an abundance of thick white whiskers,
just some of the elements of her stunning beauty, of
the magnificent splendor that’s reflected in her eyes.
Almond-shaped orbs of sage green, pierced with hurt
when the lives she brought into this cruel world,
are ripped from her.
A tearing that reverberates throughout her body,
like a chainsaw, to her very soul.
Her babies are roughly hauled away by a cold metal pole,
dragged forcibly through dirt and under a fence,
and far away from their grieving mother.
The desperate loss she feels when there are no little ones for
her to nurse, to gently and lovingly clean with her feline tongue,
to protect and nurture, is like a slow torture.
Her tiger eyes behind the bars of a cage hold deep her anguish,
the radiance, that emerald shine and sparkle they used to hold,
has been hammered out of them.
In the fading silvery light, they are shadowy and haunted,
saturated with all of the secrets that cause her suffering.
The abrasive dirt scratches his tender newborn belly as he’s
pulled like a piece of garbage through it.
His tiger cub instincts tell him to search for the source of
his mother’s nutrient-rich and nourishing milk.
But try as he might, it’s nowhere to be found.
Neither is the warm furry loving embrace and comforting
touch of her body, her skin, her tongue, her everything.
His mother should be his entire world right now.
His mother should be there, right there, for him.
But she’s not.
Greed and evil have taken him away from her.
He cries as he crawls around an unfamiliar surface of cold vinyl,
some kind of strange plastic cage with netting around the sides.
His stomach grumbles with hunger until liquid through
a foreign smelling and vile tasting rubber apparatus
is provided– though it’s nothing like his mother’s milk at all.
Even though he’s too young and small and new to understand
and realize it completely, he misses her and all the love
she should have been able to give him.
Instead his cries of distress are met with angry shouts, an ugly,
unfamiliar voice hollering beyond the perimeters of his prison cell,
twangy, irritable, frightening and, above all… careless.