I had Tiger Stripes
Before I could 
Understand 
What those lines meant 
How they were formed
How I would feel about them
When I finally knew

Tiger stripes
Animalistic
Prided and provided 
In activities
Involving
Decadent delights 
Concealing calories 
Which were 
Once on the lips 
Leaving a stain
Of faded marker 
On my hips

Do you know 
Not one person 
Who has ever 
Gotten me naked 
Said one word 
About my stripes? 

Weird. 

Almost like 
We got 
Each other naked
For reasons 
Other than 
Just looking for 
Strays and marks. 

Remember that
Tiger woman 

No one that wants to be with you
is merely counting your stripes 
as the only means of seeing you. 

Those stripes
A part of you
Just the same
As that secret freckle
Between your chest 
Or the tattoos
You sweat through
In private
Placed in private
To be seen by those
Who don’t fear your stripes
But rather look to trace
The parts of your body
That no one has traced before 

Sometimes we fear 
Our tiger stripes
We fear the imperfect 
Just to find 
That those tiger stripes
Attract 

Those tiger stripes 
Make this person
And maybe those stripes
Are just there to lead you
To your tiger