• Sawnie Morris

Bear of Mountain –– & She Flies In, Too


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 MorrisHer, 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’s 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.


New Mexico State University

English Department

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