The Boxing Bear
A bear came down from a yellow wood
and stood, pensive, in a purple park,
waiting for the children to pour from their square homes
and dance-twirling on tiptoe-
a ballet he cannot see as arms encircle a
brown cowlick. Pigtails. Denim jumper.
Laughter is smitten with itself, and then
slowly, as mist slides from beneath the morning,
it sheds its skin. Strange turns to comfortable wonder,
and the dance-
gentle- binds the greens and purples and yellows
of an island afternoon. Hot beneath a patchwork sun
A bear pauses mid-step, stands,
looks out to sea-then drops again to
all fours as the pigtails take chase,
landing together in a booth with
red curtains. Cones with cookies and cream.
A dance well done.
*Cubby was the Boxing Bear of Mackinac Island, Michigan. Children used to spar with him, sometimes treating the bear to an ice cream cone afterwards. When his owner died, Cubby took to wandering the island unattended, and eventually was shot and eaten.
You were there, brushing the waves with a paint stroke-
white against a deeper blue, before I grew up-
became an artist, tried to sit with them in the cafeteria and
found backs turned, textbooks opened to a chapter I knew we
studied last semester.
Leaning back in a chair gets you nowhere- unless the
sun is dying a slow, sandy death and the cliffs
above blush for me, freckled with tourists and Christmas
lights in June.
When your smile flashed like quickening.
Twelve seems to be the number in years as I sit
in a study my husband assembled around bits of a
ready-made desk. I am serious , inhabiting
a functional space best put to other use.
I waste time. Surf the net,
dream of a ribbon on the shore, stained with foam,
where seabirds gather.
Dusk on midwinter-
butter over too much bread. Linen flutters over must and canned heat.
I will escape my room before cold leftovers are served,
and stumble into spring shine- welcome- hugged by
an August campfire and your breath.
About the author:
I graduated with a B.A. in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where I studied under Arnie Johnston and Stuart Dybek. My poetry and short fiction have appeared in Main Channel Voices, The Tonopah Review, Commonsense2, Poetry Midwest, Origami Condom, SaLit, Steam Ticket, SLAB: Sound and Literary Art Book, and in the documentary, Ice Bridge: Mackinac Island?s Hidden Season.
In my spare time I like to read, hike, swim, sing and take care of my many animals, which sometimes includes my two year old daughter, Analiese.
© 2011 Word Riot