Bareskin

Coal

When we meet 

our deep

brown eyes

 mirror a

mutual need

for light

to penetrate

 human darkness.

  Your eyes are

wary and fearful;

Mine hunger

for your touch.

I cry out softly

“Don’t be afraid…

I love you”.

We share

a haunted skin –

  hunted down

by Difference.

You are slaughtered

by men with guns.

I am knifed by wounding

 man words,

– boy threats,

 a ‘gift’ of a still warm

grouse – her neck twisted

and broken – dropped

at my door.

There are so many ways

 to kill an animal.

You have shiny black fur

and my skin is light

but our senses scream

as one

in torment –

our bodies feel

the earth moving

 under our feet.

We have no place

left to go –

no hope of peace.

What’s left?

  Courage 

to endure.

Working notes:

Some nights I walk down to the field, the one I call “field of dreams” to gaze up at the constellation of the Great Bear who circumnavigates the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere the Great Bear was probably the first image and manifestation of the Goddess. As a bear She denned in the fall, gave birth in dead winter, was reborn in the spring, feasted during the summer, and re –entered the cave, participating in an endless round of becoming. This year I feel the loss of Her Presence keenly. It has been a year of endurance; one in which hope has been absent. A year permeated by fear, drought, heat, stagnancy, unbearable waiting for house repairs to begin. It is almost November; un – dealt with house repairs loom as parched leaves drift to the ground and rains never come… I am losing perspective and I know it. 

Wild bears have been for the most part absent from my life. For the first time ever. The absence of day bears mirrors the apparent loss of the Great Mother in me. I am drowning in doubt and uncertainty.

Of course, hunting pressure has reduced the number of bears to almost zero and those that still haunt what’s left of these broken forests have little food or protection. Even though I offer sanctuary, treats, and friendship, bears have been too wary, visiting only under the cover of night. I almost never see them.

 The exception was Coal, a timid 300lb adult female that barely allowed me to get a few glimpses of her during the month of June…Although Coal knows me she is no longer interested in friendship. That she has survived long enough to reach adulthood and is of breeding age (she bred last year but lost her cubs to god knows what horror) guarantees that she has had too many threatening encounters with men to trust any human, including me – a woman who loves her. Because we are in the midst of the three month black bear slaughter I think about Coal every day hoping that somehow she has managed to escape the hunters raging gun, wild dogs that ‘hound’ her, the ugly steel traps illegal in every state but this one…I look at her picture wondering if there is some way to reach her, to protect her – to help her survive. But I suspect that I am as powerless to help her, as I am to help myself.

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