God of Our Nights
No, the bear does not shit in the woods.
He shits under the apple tree, on the pavement
all up and down this canyon, great humps of shit;
this bear is not taking any chances of waking up
hungry midwinter. Any time of night you hear
him out there snuffling and rumpling. He’s chomped
my door, snapped the branches on the cherry trees,
busted the window in Betty’s car, swiped
the doughnut right out of her hand, kept going
down the driveway. He’s black as night,
cinnamon in the sun, he’s a 200-pound bear,
a 500-pound bear, a two-ton bear, I swear it,
as motherfuckers go, he’s motherfucking huge,
sociopathic as any linebacker. He’s peered in
our windows, leaned on our screens. We keep
the dogs in. When we go to our cars and mailboxes,
we run. But no one around here will turn him in.
He’s our goddamned bear. He’s why the hell we live here.
Claudia Putnam lives in Western Colorado, where bears, lions, and other wildlife regularly traipse through her yard. Her work can be found in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Confrontation, Phoebe, Adirondack Review, Gargoyle, and in many other journals. She held the George Bennett Fellowship at Phillips Exeter last year and has been at Ragdale in the past.