Sleeping with Grizzlies

Three of my new poems appear in the new issue of Ibis Head Review.  They include one of my favorites, “Sleeping with Grizzlies.”

Sleeping with Grizzlies

Our words are dead by midnight.
Each day we slip the silence
of our skin and run
to find the edges of those we want to love us.
It’s too much for some, the weight
of vowels, the syllables
like a grizzly bear sleeping next to us in bed.
During the night, restless,
he rolls over and wounds us with his paw.
If we’re lucky, it’s the soft thunder that wakes him.
He sits up and asks to slow the clocks.
He tells us everything,
how lightning reflects the walls.
We hope the morning never comes.

This poem had to find itself. I kept pushing, and as Richard Hugo wrote, I trusted that “adhesive force” would lead the way.  In short–whatever I wrote next would make sense, no matter what.

I had the first six lines written for several weeks.  The remainder of the poem came one night, in a rush, after seeing a tattoo of a grizzly bear.

As it turned out, it was the right metaphor. And it came from a seemingly random place.  Lucky for me, I made the connection.

Two additional poems, “Gypsies in the Night,” and “Anniversary” also appear in the same issue.


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