For the bear who broke my fence

in den

As you ready,
you trouble our leavings:
the forgotten feeder, the spilled seed.

Your hunger accretes
in the dark autumn air.
Urgent. Insatiable.

Hyperphagia, the scientists say.
You say eat. You say drink.
As you ready,

you dream cubs from
the world of spirit, from
the world of ancestors.
You dream their tiny bodies
blind and toothless, strange
to anyone but you, who might

cradle them all
with one careful paw.

As you ready, they wait.
They are not bear;  not yet.
They are pre-bear.
Blastocysts, the scientists say:
fertilized eggs, fewer than
a hundred cells. Barely embryos.

They wait, suspended.
Only if you grow fat enough —
only if you can sustain their lives —
will they anchor your womb,
will they begin to be bears.

So eat, and eat more. Drink.
Bid them begin,  as you ready:
all the bears that might be.

To you, they are already real.

Sleep into winter, then,
and dream cubs
into perfect flesh.
Keep them warm;
feed them well.

Make of them small wonders
who will meet the world
in spring, their nebulous
faces alive with amazement,
their new, uncertain bodies
tumbling into dappled air,

their rounded ears and soft muzzles
sensing the earth being born again.



Photos are from the North American Bear Center near Ely, Minnesota, a rich repository of research and information about these magnificent animals.







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