by Kim Chinquee
She sleeps with the tiger. She rests on his shoulder and touches his fur. He is meaty and gentle, with big teeth he only shows with a yawn. She wakes from a dream and feels the tiger’s paw on her arm, and she wonders if there is a boy, her boy, in the next room. Not really a boy now. A man with a stuffed bear, and the bear is getting up to use the bathroom. She looks at her husband—in her dream there is Discovery, that mirage, the circus, tigers in big cages, a man, a bear, a trapeze artist. She hears flushing from the bathroom. She starts to get up to check if the bear is real and is her son a boy or man now? She moves closer to her husband. She pulls herself under him, like a blanket, hearing his heart thump evenly.
About the Author
Kim Chinquee grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. She served as a medical lab tech in the Air Force, and was stationed in Mississippi, Texas, England, Germany and North Dakota. She received her M.A. in creative writing from the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers, her M.F.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Henfield Prize. She is the author of the collections Oh Baby and Pretty, and her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including The Nation, NOON, The Huffington Post, Conjunctions, Willow Springs, Denver Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, American Short Fiction, Green Mountains Review, New York Tyrant, Fiction, Mississippi Review, and several others. She lives in Buffalo, New York, where she teaches creative writing.