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Between Two Men.

 Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse The
tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame Under the splendid,
quivering cover of skin.
 I was walking on Nassau Street in Princeton on my way to freshman
convocation in the church by the sculpture of fear
and forgiveness: two men, one kneeling, hands bound, the other standing
with a knife in his hands; what's between them unknowable,
but obvious. I was waiting for the procession to begin. There were
African drummers, air socks in the shape of fish, faculty, women
and men of worship wearing crosses, stars, symbols, and colorful robes,
and then the president, Shirley, bringing up the rear
and six hundred new students, but I was thinking of dead tigers, bright
skins confiscated in airports, the wild laid out on linoleum. It was in
a poaching campaign, and all the reserves were decimated, no tigers left
to hunt, beaten to death in their leg traps so as not to mar
the hides, cash on the black market, money in pockets, blood on
machetes, but none of this new. The sculpture of the two men
is black metal. The light catches the concaves and convexes. The
students scurried by, their eyes as open as possible, catching all
of it: the heel of hand on skin-head drums, the flying fish, their
belief in immortality filling the air like incense or blood after a
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Title Annotation:Baby Boomer Issue
Author:McCullough, Laura
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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