By Ahmed Latif
If you, my dear, are to know anything then know the curvature of your ribs.
I don’t know what I know. I am uncomfortably comfortable with this unknown, but not the other unknowns I do not know.
We all stay in the pool, pristine until it is piss.
Real is a term for the bullies; the ones that we long to be anyway.
Away from it all, we are taught in the streets and alleys.
We are handed our textbooks and we discuss what is to come after the summer, both the ephemeral one and the eternal one.
After the green spring comes the orange summer, that’s when the tiger learns the curvature of its ribs.
It was time for it to spill some knowledge and some blood.
They go hand in hand, but sleep in different beds.
It is the key to a happy marriage they say, the tiger agrees.
But what does it know?
It knows the curvature of its ribs, what else is there to know?
I am sorry for your loss, the tiger says grimly to the mother boar with her young hanging in its jaw.
I appreciate the thought, she would have said had she also not been attacked.
Damn those wolves, they are savages the tiger said.
We are all victims, we don’t know any better said the young boar, still hanging lifelessly from the tiger’s jaw.
We should know better the tiger shoots back all sullen and austere like an angsty auteur.
Why should we know better? Remarks one aging, exhausted, and slightly melancholic oak tree.
How could we know better? Adds another older but less exhausted yet still exhausted oak tree.
We know the curvature of our ribs, answers the tiger. How much more did we need to know?
So for all the victims of all the crimes, deemed uninteresting and uninspired, I collect and compile the indubitable ‘You should have known better’s and the inscrutable ‘I told you so’s.
I collected them into a volume of guilt and shame so that these victims might not have to carry that load. They could just leave it in between the pages of those volumes.
It is a lofty ambition, but it is the most worthy known I know.
So from all the unknowns I know, and all the unknowns I do not know, I will tell you to know the curvature of your ribs, everything else you leave to the pages.
But I must advise you to not take any advice from someone who does not know anything except the curvature of their ribs. The tiger would disagree.
I am not one for disagreement, but I am afraid the tiger and I may have to settle this one as gentlemen, in a duel on a frosty fall afternoon in a forest with a fallen leaf floor.
If you ever follow the curvature of your ribs, it will curve and ascend until it leads you to the stars, and there you will see a constellation of the tiger and I and our hallowed disagreement. In truth, I do not mind, because it was all to lighten the load, you see.