From B E A R

Jennifer Firestone

B i r t h

With her ferocious fur she squatted and a large growl and howl
and two little bears snaking on the ground.

Off to forage     running     the dark brown fur pulling her down     down.
Blood trails and berries scratch her paws
jagged sticks lick her wounds     and the mouth pink-red     and the mouth growls.

S l u m b e r

She’s here staying close to their round mouths.
Sound emits from that one round mouth
and the sun is bright red like a small round mouth.
One can’t retract into one’s mind, follow unconsciously those waves.
Round wishes appear.

You must defy all odds says the invisible instruction book.
A squirrel smiles.

You must take all that makes you small and re-transmit it to large formations.
You are doing what each and every being has had done
successfully or mercilessly

Today she awoke and thought her body was another’s
and immediately prepared
to attack.

As if terrified by shadows on the decaying rock
she retreated.

When did the body become an enemy?

They use her body to sleep
and eat.
They find great use.

She takes them to the quiet river.
She takes them to the quiet river.

They drink from the river.


To be a foreigner where she once was queen.
A territory monger
where all others ran

She shook her body
made trees sway.

They soon came down the trees
and took her

Ferociousness is a state of mind.
No matter the body
small beings

W o r k

Still bleeding but needing     a lively wire
she paws her running nose.

Running she trails behind     the leaves nestle
other bears bristle     she thought them trees.
Bristle and brown     meltdown   
the wet ground and no sounds of squirming.    

A bell     wood cracks     a telltale light.  
Forest ideas     meandering     she takes position     assuming
where’s the main Boss?

Her body bigger than what she remembers
skin swaying     music     lumbers     to lumber
get rid of this slither swaying music.    

Meeting time     forest bell     yellow     light     whisper.
Wood crack     yes     wood snap     yes.
Her eyes expelled from pupil     yellow irises floating.
Meeting with the main Boss     Big Boss.
Mama not so sure     the flee response     control it.
Bristle     her back begins to rise     a fly circles.

Hello     Hello Mama, Are you there?     She’s not
sleeping     primarily awake always     dripping
awaiting     and there were two and there were two
her brain types this phrasing.


Before even awakening sun stood steady     lips trembled.
Language pushed through big sweep     Mama!
Elbowing out     the door flies open.

A badge     an armful of berries.
Mama hears pine trees     they needle the ground.

A tree falls in the distance     Mama gasps     smoke from a chimney fills her lungs.
A wolf whistles     and she umbrellas the bears
she clouds them right over.

Jennifer Firestone
Jennifer Firestone

Jennifer Firestone is the author of Flashes (forthcoming from Shearsman Books) Holiday (Shearsman Books), Waves (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs), and from Flashes and snapshot (Sona Books). She is the co-editor of Letters To Poets: Conversations about Poetics, Politics and Community (Saturnalia Books), and an Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College (The New School).