I’d like to believe

that there are no bears 

in the woods

(it would settle my nerves,

the edges of which catch on the branches and leaves

across the trail that

I’ve yet to trim)


But I see signs of their shadows




tufts of fur 

paw prints in the mud 

bark peeling off trees

in delicate strips

that I could use to start fires

if fires were allowed up here


Lying in my tent at night 

(every night)

I listen for snapped branches

heavy footfalls 

huffed hot heaving breaths


I’ve seen bears, twice,

only once in the woods–

in New Jersey


Fear burned through me 

I lived like my ancestors once must have,

feeling everything all at once

in a (perceived) life or death struggle 

the young god verses the beast


Hadn’t yet been in the woods long enough for the god complex to be washed away


That takes time




time outside the world’s grasp


Because everyone tells you that

you’re a young god

when you’re twenty


And you believe them


But you’re not one 

in the woods–

they disabuse you of this notion


within days


The young god stumbles

out here