Fiction 17 Jan 2022

The bear that clawed me
I owe an apology
and blame myself for trespass.

Our cartography draftsmen
do not draw boundaries
marked by scent glands.

I tell myself I am lucky
the bear was not hungry
and its border nearby.

Four grooves in my back
expose rib bones to air—
wear threads steeped in blood.

I tell myself this is a story
grandmother should hear
one bloody step after another.

That is if the earth
does not swallow me first
in an act of mercy.

Or I find a limestone crack
to call a cave
in which to crawl and sleep.

How silly of me to think
planting a flag on a hilltop
made the wilderness mine.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney