After 22 wonderful years in Ripon, Wisconsin, I am happy to report a successful move to the Berkshires with my husband and two spaniels. Co-editor with David Graham of After Confession: Poetry as Autobiography (Graywolf), my recent publications in addition to V-V include SoFloPoJo, Villanelles (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets), and Cooking With The Muse (Tupelo). I have work forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review and The Crafty Poet 11 (Terrapin Books). Pantoums are in my DNA, and I am grateful to FF for accepting so many of them.
Cinnamon snout at the fruit, raspberry tongue
loose at vines she thins to near ruins, she can
sense my hunger grow until I am so famished
to catch a glimpse, I am mere breaths away from
welcoming her unbidden, unafraid, admiring
each footprint she retraces over her lifetime
to claim her rightful meal. American as this rocky
terrain blasted to build our home, solitary forager
among the lost timbers of her childhood, on a good
day, neighbors click the camera as she knocks down
a birdfeeder here, a gas grill there. A bear big as
gossip, waking more and more easily to human
voices when her ancestral forests thaw, she offers
me, the newcomer, a chance to embrace her shock
of fur & claw, erase blood dreams from my afternoon
on the hammock, the page I am reading about her
ample love for her cubs, lost. Her wish is that I not
throw my hardcover or stomp my feet, clap loud as
applause until my hands hurt, my toe nerves tangled
as I bluff-dance her back to her origins. Moving
from flatlands to mountains will teach you this dance.
Too bad, she sighs to her sweet tooth mere steps
removed from mine, too bad she repeats to thorn-stemmed
boundaries between us. Be careful what you don’t wish for
she retreats into our shared bowl of black bear stories.
You may never see me. We could have been friends.
©2016 Kate Sontag
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