from The Bear Letters
April 8, 2014
Apr 8, 2014
In an apple dream, you are mostly made
of water. You are swimming in the orchard
when the bear arrives to eat you.
You are mostly weeds. In a dream
that takes place creek-side, I have learned
to climb tall trees. I watch for your arrival
like I watch for bears, who avoid their baits
like they avoid the water. They have forgotten
how to swim. A different dream warns
of drowning: a branch breaks, so I fall
not onto you but another. There are no fruits
left in the orchard, so bears scavenge
for wasp nests, for roots, their paw prints
on the apple trail, flat-footed & fresh.
Instead of bears, a bobcat tracked
across the yard & I had tried to bake
a cobbler. Picked berries from pokeweed,
struggled against vines. If a grackle
was catching up to me, I had set a trap
of thistle & string. Drew a forest map
& nothing was to scale. Drew triangles
to indicate trees. You were close enough
or just across the lake or waxing.
Drew a field to indicate your hands.
If barefoot, my feet were crushing
thrush’s eggs, had trampled nettle beds.
A burr remembered seeing you,
so stayed tangled in my hair.
You did not grow like a field or a grove
of longleaf pine. You were not rooted.
Where a cone flower swayed, you
did not. You did not cause a dusting
of seedpods. A bark or the sharp walls
of a gully contained neither your face
nor your specter. You were not a wind
or its blowing on my cheek. When a rain
came, you were not falling. You were
not washing through my hair. When a bird
sang, it did not sound like you saying
home, home, here I am. There were small
hills where your eyes should have been.
There was a constant shudder of leaves.
While we have you...
...we need your help. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free. This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry. It also means that we count on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, help us keep it free for everyone by making a donation. No amount is too small. You will be helping us cultivate a public sphere that honors pluralism of thought for a diverse and discerning public.
April 08, 2014