TIGER NIGHTS by David Schuman

TIGER NIGHTS by David Schuman

On tiger nights she wants sex as soon as she gets home. Even if you’re right in the middle of making dinner, no matter if the sauce is just setting up or the souffle must come out of the oven. 

“Who makes souffles anymore?” she asks. 

What can you say? This is a woman who’s been tending big cats all day, mucking out their habitat while they pace back and forth in their holding cells, running dry tongues over four-inch incisors as they ogle a pallet of deer-legs thawing in the sun. 

On the days when she’s on capybara duty, or wrangling the giant tortoises, it isn’t like this. 

Those nights, she pours the wine and does the dishes. Afterwards you watch bingeworthy television in matching flannel and then make a tidy sort of love before washing up and going to bed. 

Tiger nights are different. It’s not that you mind, so much. Who would? But there’s something about the brightness of her eyes as she tears off your clothes, the way she doesn’t care when a glass on the nightstand, knocked by a wild elbow, shatters across the hardwood, an event that the next frantic, sweaty, minutes will utterly erase from memory, so that when you rise to retrieve a washcloth you step deeply onto a curled shard from the glass’s rim, which enters your foot and breaks into several pieces inside the wound. It’s a week working with tweezers for an hour a day before you can draw it out. When you do what follows is a pulse of oozy pink. 

You carry the shard in your palm into the bedroom to show her, but she’s already asleep. You limp to the bedside on your infected foot and lean close to watch the twitching of her lips.  

David Schuman's prose chapbook, BEST MEN, was published by Tammy Press. He lives in St. Louis.