The Real Tiger, Brian Koester

Dale Champlin, A Is for Anne, Collage, 2021


To the Real Tiger


No one will tell me
where you’re buried

A million guys with your name
in Oregon alone

and not one
is you

I hope to be as brave as you
if a monster ever eats me from inside

I hope to be as cheerful as you
if they ever ship me off to Timbuktu to die

Although you could only ever
count on one brother

(How could the other keep yelling at you
on your deathbed over nothing?)

(How could your mom not bother to visit
you until you were dead?)

you can count on me
to remember you

when a guy my son’s age
bites the dust

when a video game
is played for blood

when I notice
somehow I’m still breathing

Brian Koester

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