Bear Skin Rug

A sea of land of fur––

an island on the hardwood


soft raft with a killed face.


I was what was inside of it,

where all these jags of teeth are not my teeth.


There is light

over a man

dressed as a girl,

dressed as a bear,

dressed as a rug.


Tolstoy would have loved this one:

a fine piece of upholstery

glaring back with yellow-gold orbs;

I am still more dead than you.


I had a fat mother and a fat mother’s fat––

armpit and belly and breast,

but still I preferred the bear

skin rug.


And lice and heat and

salmon blood––

where did they go

when you were set

upon my floor?


I know you, old bear,

I held on to your ears

while playing Super Mario.


But what do I know?

What tides,

what ships,

what sailors,

what bear-y men and mummy shock of tongue?


The bear skin rug is a fur commune.

Its boundaries are closed.


If you were to sleep on my bear skin,

would you dream of burial? Would you

dream of sleep or forget to dream?


I protected you

from the husks that fluttered

empty on the edges of the sliding door;

mouths of a great furred

beast that wanted to part us.


The heifer’s calf is coming now.

Look at you, all skin ’n’ bones.

Get yourself to the old oak

by the barn, you’ll find the afterbirth.


Eat somethin’ girl, skin ’n’ bones,

skin ’n’ bones, get your ass

off that bear’s kin rug.


Papa, I have this bear,

but bring me a fox

when you come from killing.

Bring back the orphans

and make me a mother

of wild things. •