URSUS

Spring 2016 / Issue 99

Jill Osier

Today I walked the road from end to end.

If you want to know, yes, I looked

 

for bears. My whole adult life I’ve looked.

Before sex, there was not a bear. And

 

so on. While I walked, planes came through

the valley, two together, antique, I think.

 

My thoughts went to air show.

Crop duster. Forest fire. First flight.

 

I don’t know where you are.

 

So now I’ll say I hated and loved the time

the young barista gave you your receipt

 

with her number on the back. I was

right there, like another customer,

 

a book bag. Just this morning,

the man up the road told me

 

a story: one evening he sat alone

in the yard with his book and sensed

 

in the quiet a presence—what he took

to be his wife sneaking up. He waited.

 

Finally he turned to see sleeping on the grass

behind his chair a large bear. I could

 

have wept. Tonight the roar coming on

is one plane, nothing in chase or warning

 

or relief, nothing but the late sun

and everything’s invitation to face it.