ON EVERY HAND A GREAT PLAIN
Two bears tearing at a tent
shred it to strips with their razor claws,
the whites around their big brown eyes
glistening yellow in the early light.
After they effortlessly crack apart the tent’s skeleton
they sit themselves down on the ground like fat generals
to survey the domain of their glorious wreckage.
When a hunter takes out the first one
the other seems surprised—but just a little,
the way at a party a man is surprised to hear his name
called out by a face that seems too old to know him
before realizing he once dated her in high school.
The living bear ambles over to the dead bear.
It looks confused, sniffs the thick red paste,
before the second shot
and the terrible pain that comes from everywhere at once
and then the ground so close to its eyes
and the taste of sugar, something never tasted before this day,
still lingering on its tongue.