From the Northeast Kingdom
When the black bearskin hung from the tree
like a rug drying on the clothesline,
the hunter recounted how he started an incision,
cut upward to the head,
stopped at the mouth’s corners. From the rear paws
I cut to the elbow, crossed to the chest incision,
his voice razzed the youngster who watched,
Are you sickward, Child? It wasn’t until he
got to the head that fuzziness rocked her.
Between kerosene kerplunking into the cook-
stove, and her Grandfather’s graveled voice,
she silently wept for the ears turned
inside out, pressed back. The bear’s
life spoke to her of fresh droplets
coating his fur tips, and the scent of blackberries rose.
Inside the bear’s choice thicket, paws reach for vines,
and he pulls leaves, thorns, berries towards him,
meshing them into his mouth—such sweetness.
Only when he satiates himself,
turning in his dark poetic cape does the hunter
bring him down—a moment of beauty and satisfaction
supremely merged, and he falls,
as only a black bear falls, king
of his forest, crowned by the rainfall.
Nagatuket River Review
Because He Cannot Be Human, and She Cannot Be Donkey.
His name is Jacob, his fur an unruly thatch.
My sister is in love with him, brings him carrots,
apples and such. He lives in a field down the road
from her in Starksboro, Vermont. They are neighbors.
I wonder if he dreams about her at night,
if he’d like to snuggle with her at the old Mill House
on cold evenings. He reaches so far into his barreled chest
for a voice to greet her that it must take years
for such braying as his, a voice filled with such sadness
that only momentarily they will meet like this; two
reaching across the fence to hold, to stay held, to be
steadied by what fierce yearning as brings opposites together.
Poetry Pacific #37