First Date

Christine Cock


I’m a Metal Tiger: calm, bold, brave, kind, and courageous.
Also turbulent; a poster child for the threat all tiger girls possess.

He, on the other hand, is a Metal Monkey: problem-solver, loyal,
sociable. Also intractable, assertive. He would have been exalted

from birth in the land where the twelve year zodiac began.
Girl tigers were known to be unruly housewives and made the case

for infanticide. My extremely short life would have been extinguished,
sand stuffed in my mouth, my hour-old nose pinched shut.

His future was foreseen. Brocade baby clothes, double-boiled rice,
first sword laid upon his chest before his fingers could wrap its hilt.

We learned this while reading paper placemats, eating roast duck
and tofu pad thai. Meat and vegetables.

Tigers must avoid Monkeys at all costs, they are too clever,
convincing us of a lifetime of living among trees and listening

to convoluted language. Monkeys need steer clear of Tigers
for safety’s sake. We are powerful and adamant, with unreasonable

stubbornness, an ability to tear open the underbelly. He and I
kissed. The wild side stoked lust, then love, but––

we ignored warning signs, having no idea at the time about
future difficulties of interspecies communication.





Christine Cock lives in the woods of Florida. Retired from working with endangered species and zoo conservation, she now writes poetry and appreciates when it can be used for conservation purposes. Her work has recently appeared in Kissing Dynamite, Tiny Seed, Quail Bell, The Speckled Trout, and in the journal Sandhill Review. She has been in several anthologies, including And the Rocks Shall Hum, for the poet Peter Meinke.