Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Bear

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Everyone was drawn outside,
my daughters arcing on the swings,
that rusty sound that wants an oil can,
hair flying behind in flashes,
and a shape, galloping through
our neighborhood, dark against the silvery
road, dark against the green
May afternoon, down
and down the hill, its running like tumbling.
From that haze, that insomniac drowse
that smelled of lactation,
that used to sift down like pollen,
I looked up -- I heard the neighbors' raised voices,
saw the moving shape descend,
unroll the hill, the road its carpet, and pause
just outside our fence, on the far side
of trees my daughters called
the forest. Having failed
to fit words to the picture,
to the pure wild sensation, finally
I could name what I saw. The bear
was small -- only a cub, its tufted fur
in disarray. It reared up slightly, turned --
I saw its back heave as it breathed.
It took us in. Three
figures in the dappled light.
I held up my younger girl.
Sunlight fell through the trees.
Then the moment was over: then came
the yells, the clatter of pursuit, and the bear
resumed the blur of running.
I can still feel the way my daughter clung
with arms and legs, the fringe of that
Indian dress she always wore,
a ghost against my skin.


Kristen Staby Rembold is the mother of two recently grown daughters and author of a novel, Felicity. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Blueline, Appalachia, and other journals.


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