John Goodrich, "Amur Tiger," 2001, all rights reserved
You see it, in the moment when the cage door opens. The freshly tagged animal hangs back, compressing itself in the shadows, and pauses. Perhaps a twig brushes the metal hasp. Perhaps the wind carries a memory of something lost. Extension and explosion, a leap away from the frightening smells, from its own fear, breaking in a straight line out past those who watch, to the indefinite edge, to blend, to hide. It’s there: panting, belly pressing into leaf litter, waiting to feel safe enough to move again. The animal in me does much the same. We both leave bits of ourselves on cat-claw and bramble as we try to scrape off the tracking tags, cover our traces.