Mary Alice is her given name,
by all accounts she’s something new;
so say the ologists who framed
the test-tube tiger at the National Zoo.
To all appearances she’s fine,
as tigerish as one could wish,
without a single outward sign
of glove, syringe, or petrie dish.
But is she still a tiger in her fur,
or something not completely clear?
Is she the beast that tigers were
before the jungles disappeared?
She prowls her stingy habitat
for carrion the keepers leave,
jackal dressed as royal cat,
Her kind is dying out, they say,
we had to take heroic steps
to save them for a better day:
Sunday afternoon, perhaps.
There in her stagy set she lies,
eye of the city’s feral roar,
her beauty conjured to imply
there’s room for tigers anymore.