by: William Matthews
Amidst the too much that we buy and throw
away and the far too much we wrap it in,
the bear found a few items of special
interest—a honeydew rind, a used tampon,
the bone from a leg of lamb. He’d rock back
lightly onto his rear paws and slash
open a plastic bag, and then his nose—
jammed almost with a surfeit of rank
and likely information, for he would pause—
and then his whole dowsing snout would
insinuate itself a little way
inside. By now he’d have hunched his weight
forward slightly, and then he’d snatch it back,
trailed by some tidbit in his teeth. He’d look
around. What a good boy am he.
The guardian of the dump was used
to this and not amused. “He’ll drag that shit
every which damn way,” he grumbled
who’d dozed and scraped a pit to keep that shit
where the town paid to contain it.
The others of us looked and looked. “City
folks like you don’t get to see this often,”
one year-round resident accused me.
Some winter I’ll bring him down to learn
to love a rat working a length of subway
track. “Nope,” I replied. Just then the bear
decamped for the woods with a marl of grease
and slather in his mouth and on his snout,
picking up speed, not cute (nor had he been
cute before, slavering with greed, his weight
all sunk to his seated rump and his nose stuck
up to sift the rich and fetid air, shaped
like a huge, furry pear), but richly
fed on the slow-simmering dump, and gone
into the bug-thick woods and anecdote.
It's starting to feel like spring has finally arrived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A week ago, we were digging out from a winter storm that dumped over two feet of snow on some places. That new snow is almost all gone now. With seventy-degree weather in the forecast for next week, I'm thinking that a lot more of the snow is going to be gone by next Wednesday.
A friend was walking a week or so ago, and she encountered a black bear stumbling through the woods. She videoed the creature, who looked like my son when he wakes up in the morning, shaking his head, bumping into things. Obviously, the bear had just crawled out of hibernation.
Saint Marty's friend didn't hang around long enough to find out if the bear was hungry.