106 Degrees: Bring on the Bears

We’ve hit 106 a time or two already
but now we’re settling down
for our August run of misery.
A man once said if he owned both
hell and Texas he would live in hell
and rent Texas out

I found the bear-cam in Alaska
I watch from the salmon-berry’d shoreline
as the bears try for sockeye in the icy river
I could use an icy river
I will arise and go there
and a cabin build there of materials
trucked in from the nearest Home Depot
nine bean rows will I have there, and a hammock
and live alone in the bear loud glade

And me and the bears will eat fish every day
and me and the bears will form a conga line
and me and the bears will act out Hamm’s commercials
from the 1960s
until one of the bears—
the chief choreographer—
will take me aside and tell me I don’t dance well enough
to be a proud Balooey bear
he will take me off separately into the woods to tell me this
so I am not embarrassed
(bears are the most polite vicious carnivores)

Instead I will stay in my hammock
I will stop trying to make the bears dance
they will agree not to eat me
I will hear the splash of their paws in the water
and the soft pad of their feet on the shore
and the ursine thud of their wise hearts
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

—Don Whittington (with apologies to WBY)

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