A mountain monk in far recluse
I prowl among murderous prayers,
through the still mantra of kills
licking clean, pure skulls of the jelly
that dreams are made of; listen,
there, through silent meditations,
rise the shrill howls of a Mekong
eaten alive by the greed of demons.
I steal among sutra lines of grass,
plant paw prints across the snow,
and hang over temple-dawned heights
to watch the swallowing growth
of a concrete hand that never asks
the blessings of any river or tree
before snapping the land in agonies
that grasp and devour, bite after bite.
Along the Mekong’s snaking meander
our desire was a chorus of heat and surrender,
the thrust and rise of word-webbed legends
tiger-claws of kindness, snarling perfection.
Now withdrawing, to fade over changes’ decade
to a silence that clings to doomed fronds,
a mating call that echoes unanswered,
the emptiness where cubs once played.
The Indo-China tiger is an Endangered species. Habitat loss is a serious threat throughout the Mekong area. Furthermore, despite various bans, the poaching of tigers for supposed benefits in traditional medicine still takes place across the region. The threats to the tiger put the whole eco-system of this area at risk, because the tiger is a top predator controlling other species' populations.