Bear of Mountain –– & She Flies In, Too

October 26, 2019


I was raised in the light of mountain   hulk of

a confident outline   brazen   vibrational


luster a conglomerate presence of   pine   stone

lion   deer     &   bear’s


amorous desiring of apples    her choke-cherry

seed-filled   scat   left in the meadow


we often returned to

the edge of the drive     where she wanted


close to bushels   fragrance in   storage. Unthinking, or at behest

of white-eared hummingbird –– we left


the door ajar. And don’t you love a-jar

its  alliance with  fruit jams   spontaneous   music   impromptu


elations   the elemental chorus :   insects playing stick-wing

& leg instruments     the frisson of   bear fur


& fat   against bark     the curly-haired

dog     his nose for     eternity     its scent :     fungus & moss ––


while nearby   [ in-house ]   a colloquium of   female iconography   carries on

a statuesque chat. There are nights   I want to ––


but it’s a waste   bending time   its   orbital

belly   its hot   sensual core.   The mountain refuses


a belt     and that is power –– happily

it leaks all over itself   a fountain   intricate.   My favorite


watercolor mountain is   arroyos   their spidery   legs

edging   toothy rocks-streams-skip ––   the way   that poet was


always skipping beyond mountain     piano keys of

 fingers   piercing   air –– caw!   caw! ––     into imagination


the other side of     perception     respectful of   sky-streaked clouds.

Even her cat   cried out     and her dog would have died


for her   he was such an   accomplice. Stigmata

dripping from claw.   We are bears drunk on


apples –– apples   delighted   to   be

desired   by bears.   Fruit’s not-too-tough   cellulose crimps


at mouth     puckers where grey bird stabbed

bit   tore.     Left sunburst in the kisser


of a gap.   I think of Jackson     his cat-mouth   chattering

uncontrollable at window   practicing the clamp down and tear.


His mouth     sunk in   imagination

of bird flesh     warm   provision   beyond


feathers.     I tell you     when my mother tears a     fingernail

my own is ripped-to-the-quick.   And when after long walk


through woods   I tell bear   I want to see her –- she appears

that very   night   where I spoke ––   righteously   offended


by my shout   & heave of the magnitudinous   Rothenberg

anthology –– my cup flying up –– a star into ether –– the shatter of


tea leaves over fired brick.     She came in search of

apples. Her cinnamon gleam splays \\|/ / patio light.


She doesn’t hurt   my dog   though she could have

slashed him to   watercolors: arterial thick.   Dog hides in bush.


Bear ambles out the taming arch   into far infrared night.

Woman with a curl   in her belly   is stricken by after-the-visitation:


Bear could have killed my dog. Bear could have taken a bite of me   or my beloved.

Bear and I had a   galactic halo of   conversation     which continues.


Listen   the same story can be told as   myth   or   matter   ( of ) ––





Sawnie Morris’ Her, Infinite (New Issues Press, 2016), won the 2015 New Issues Poetry Award, judged by Major Jackson. Recent honors include the 2016 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize and inclusion in the online edition of BAX: 2016, Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), Poetry (2017), Lana Turner (2018, 2019), as well as in Harvard Review’Renga for Obama. Sawnie’s poems have won a Poetry Society of America Bogin Award and her chapbook in The Sound a Raven Makes (Tres Chicas Books) was co-winner of a New Mexico Book Award. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Taos. 


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