Tonight a bear's at the perimeter,
beyond where cabin-lights dissolve.
The animal breaks brush and gulps air,
snorts, working hard, and we hear this.
We glance up at Ursa Major above
the Sierra Buttes, a risen massif.
We figure the bear's breaking down
an apple tree now and gorging--wild
and deliberate, focused and irascible.
We don't walk closer. The bear doesn't
advance. There's a distance to be kept.
There's a fascination in the dark,
which entertains a big invisible mammal
whose family's lived here since before
any human named constellations or
eavesdropped on night's business.
Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom