To keep them at bay I say poems,
I sing: “I have been fashioned
on a chain of flesh,” I intone
to the trees, then warble
“Tressa had a baby, oooh”—
and I hear no bears, see no bears
except in my mind’s eye—
scruffy brown and tan,
missing eye and ear—
huge gray and white I won
at a fair at fourteen, named
for a boyfriend, displayed
in my room, then packed away
for forty years.    
and mute, the bears of my life
lumber in their lairs, listening
for scraps of songs, fragments
of poems, wondering when
I’ll ever let go.