At fifteen Nani shot a / tiger. A big gun in a girl’s hands; I’ve seen the picture.
At fifteen Nani shot a tiger. A big gun in a girl’s hands; I’ve seen the picture. Her hair is in pigtails. She’s tall like my sister. Childish and proud, a big smile, a small jaw. The tiger is dead in the background. Now its head is stuffed and mounted on a wall in Nani’s living room, its mouth open and eyes glassy.
When she grew out of killing things, she got married and had my mom. I’ve always wondered if the shouts between mother and me are inherited, what Nani’s voice sounds like raised. She spends her afternoons feeding peacocks, plying them with birdseed as they bask near her lily pond. They’ll be out there all afternoon, waiting to watch the bloom, but Nani
comes back inside, back to her own taxidermied blossom, the feral part of her permanently paused in a snarl, hung up for display. The tiger head has cobwebs between his teeth and his maw is dusty. The wild shouldn’t have to be cleaned. Nani clenches her jaw and stares him down, like she could kill him all over again.