He visits his new mountain retreat
in the bright colors of mid autumn,
stays home while his young wife
goes shopping. Stretches
his city-pale body
in the hot tub overlooking the lake.
Sighs in bliss, scrunches down, lifts his wine.
The first rain drops ice on his face, his chest.
Like a jack-in-the-box he leaps high. Regards
his soaked body, shrugs, sinks back in the tub.
Moments later, snowflakes dot his hair,
melt on his outstretched tongue.
He slides deeper into warm water,
into a doze. Dream-fogged
eyes fly wide at a rustle by his ear,
alight on the muzzle of a black bear
sniffing close. Both parties blink.
One screams. The bear
This poem first appeared in Acorn (2002).
Used here with the author’s permission.