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Three Gifts for Bears in the Alleghenies
David Henson


My uncle, picking huckleberries,
thought the rustling was my aunt
and filled half a pail
picking around the bush.
He got away,
but that shaggy black bear
didn’t eat the rest of its supper
off the branch.

Another uncle, under his car,
draining oil, looked out at
hair, paws, claws,
and long yellow teeth
carrying away the new filter.

A cousin on his trail bike
and watching his shadow sail
through the weeds,
looked up in time to tip over
and avoid a bear on hind legs,
its fur the color of night.
He never found the bike
but still has the handlebar grips.

© by David Henson.
Used with the author's permission.



David Henson is the author of two chapbooks and his award-winning work has appeared in a variety of online and print journals. In addition to writing, David enjoys playing classical and boogie woogie piano. David and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years, but now live in Illinois, where they enjoy walking with their dog. Learn more about David at



Post New Comment:
Love this!
Posted 06/23/2023 12:06 PM
There have been SO many bear stories on the news lately! Your poem gives good examples of what happens when wild animals' habitats are diminished. The come on up to see us!
Posted 06/23/2023 12:16 AM
Lori Levy:
Scary, but great poem.
Posted 06/22/2023 04:43 PM
Thanks very much to all who took the time to comment! David H.
Posted 06/22/2023 11:33 AM
Wilda Morris:
Interesting anecdotes well told.
Posted 06/22/2023 08:42 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I was blessed to spend most of my life in Southern Colorado where encounters with bears are almost commonplace. I have had my share, either out on the mountain trail or right in my own backyard when drought drove the bears to town, where they hoped to find food. Most of the encounters were humorous, as in David's poem, perhaps not at the moment but for sure in the telling afterwards. I like David's poem, and I like boogie boogie piano. Go David.
Posted 06/22/2023 08:29 AM
Larry Schug:
That's how to tell a story!
Posted 06/22/2023 08:14 AM
These are vivid encounters! May I not run into any "long yellow teeth" this summer.
Posted 06/22/2023 07:22 AM

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