The Great Bear by Mary di Lucia

His teeth were sharp. By day, he hid them. By day he had hands. At night, they were claws. They scratched on the old trees until the bark was gone. They were telephone poles. He was leaving messages. He kept his hands in his pockets. The crows came: one, two, three. Their claws left tracks. He couldn’t read them. The clouds were too thick. He left them in the sky. He followed them in the snow. They lead nowhere. They wrote back to him. The snow was so thick. He made sounds as he walked on what by day were sidewalks. You could hear, when he stopped. A snarl, a grunt. These were the ways he delighted himself. He climbed to the top and he hunkered below. He could see everything. At the border of the village, he rummaged through the houses. He was looking for something. He left his messages. They had moved on. He got in through a window. It looked out on the train yards, the meadows and marshes. He arranged the landscape then walked alongside it. Brush opened to plains. He hated himself. His lumbering bulk. His hair grew in. His hair grew out. He went inside, soothed by the dark. No one approached him. He was free to watch. He found an old rocket in an empty park. He climbed inside it. It flew through the ice. He flew back to the forest. No more roaming at night. The terrible teeth. The hungry claws, swiping and swiping, unable to speak, unable to hold.

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