Last night, sharing a quiet dinner of seared salmon and scalloped
potatoes, we talked, my husband and I, about what we each would do
if the other died first. An elegant bottle of Stag’s Leap Cabernet, linen
napkins, crystal glasses and tapered silver candles graced our table.

Black stripes on orange fur
skulking at midnight
but tigers don’t live in
this tidy neighborhood
near San Francisco
only in zoos where
they are safely locked in cages
& children point & pretend they are afraid

our front door doesn’t shut properly
I try again
the lock doesn’t hold
the tiger is in the house
prowling from room to room
not snarling or threatening
but massive, with a strong musky odor
my legs are shaking like cedar branches

in a high wind hurricane
a desperate help locked in my mouth
I manage to push him out
feeling his lush fur under my hand
I call animal control
a sleepy voice says
there are tigers everywhere
nothing we can do

I hear a low growl
the tiger is slinking
around the garden, belly low
the white patches on his face
catch the street lamp’s light
he looks like a warrior or a deity
one might worship
I pull the drapes shut.