WHEN THE GIRL BECOMES THE BEAR

Spring 2016 / Issue 99

Julianna Baggott

There’s no terror like the terror

of the sensory-deprivation tank

(because you supply your own terror).

It will not be the men who kill me,

it will be the women

                         who hate the men.

When they cannot kill the bear, they blame

the trees.

I am limb-sawed, uprooted.

A mute stump.

The bear still roams—his eyes shine,

his coat smooth as if freshly groomed.

(By whom?)

In the tank, I blink and blink

                                     into dead air.

I think, If only I could be the bear for them.

Listen,

if you meet a bear

            who whispers, Kill me,

you will know my voice.