The Siberian Tiger

Dreams of snow rabbits are vividly dancing in Tiger's head.

Her muscles twitch involuntarily in her sleep, stirring the snow in which she lays.

Minutes later, she slowly opens one eye to the midmorning sun,

Which shines through outstretched branches of the tree she is under.

Now fully awoken from dreams of the chase, Tiger stretches, yawning loudly,

Disturbing some birds that thought it safe to rest in the tree above her head.

They flutter away, catching Tiger's eye, but she remains in place,

Contemplating how to spend her day, and looking out at the Siberian landscape.

She rises slowly, muscles rippling across her thick, warm, orange and black coat,

Making her way to the stream, which is covered in a thin sheet of ice.

She tentatively dips a padded paw in the water, forming a hole to drink from.

She delicately laps water out of the hole with her sandpapery pink tongue,

Drinks her fill, and licks the water droplets from her long whiskers.

Now Tiger begins to do what she loves best, scanning the snow for movement.

She hunches over; muscles pulled taut, and concentrates on her surroundings.

She remains almost motionless, body rigid, slowly breathing,

Her breath forming white plumes in the frigid air.

Suddenly, motion straight ahead, a hare hopping quickly on the snow.

Tiger watches intently, waiting for her prey to come closer,

Suddenly pounces, with liquid grace, muscles extend fully in the airborne body.

The rabbit frantically tries to evade the attack, looks left and right,
But Tiger is already landing on her prey, a clean kill.

She drags the rabbit through the snow, a trail of red appearing as she goes.

Once again at the stream, Tiger eats her meal, daintily for a big cat.

Content, she drinks water; eyes closed and tongue lapping.

Tiger lays down, licks her paw, and washes her bloody face,

Large paw cleaning the tufts of fur on her cheeks.

Slowly rises, trots to the nearest snow covered tree,

Walking in circles to make it suitable for sleep, and finally,

Tiger lies down to dream once more.