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Sam Beal

Sam contributed the piece Eating the Tiger, a poem about femininity, dysphoria, and euphoria for our fourth issue. They are a genderfluid "game designer, poet, and adoring cat parent" with a brilliant talent for expressing the unexpressable!

IG: @bealdoesstuff


Eating the Tiger

Lady-soft eyes stare up from the floor

as I line the table with silverware.

She is larger than me, beast paws big enough

to break ribs with an ill-placed biscuit.

I know how easy it is to fall fond

from how quickly others have named her.

But she is mine and I hate their names

so I only call her to and from me,

forever startling at her bristled fur

as she weaves between my legs.

It is difficult swallowing the things we keep

that are bound to tear us apart.

But I have always been too hungry, childish in the way

I will scarf down what is not food.

Once, when I was eight, I threw powdered sugar

around my room like a blizzard

wanting nothing more than to taste

snowfall in the Florida summer.

So I sprinkled sweet on the dolls and dresses

my father gave paychecks for,

licked stripped pink paint from the walls

and mauled girlish tutus like prey.

She was there even then, like a striped beignet,

dusted and crouched in the corner,

gnashing her teeth at my lack of manners,

drooling over my performance.

This tiger, she is older than I could ever be,

has killed enough to know I’m not woman.

Still, she purrs in the mouths of strangers

who call me ma’am and miss.

So I am eating her raw, fur and all, finally,

one violent bite at a time.

Once she is gone, I will scrape her blood

from my nails like sticky polish,

marvel at the stains on my knuckles and palms,

count the days ‘til they’re gone in tallies.

Her death will be the sweetest pink yet.

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