June 18, 2017


by Tanis MacDonald

(for Bear 71)

Your camping space is a roaming range.
What looks random probably isn’t. The distance
between wired and wild can be measured in rain.
An accident is not the same as a mystery.

The moose with his rack caught in swing set
chains is not the one to ask about where to get
a really good cup of coffee around here. How
he clanks and shivers, how he steams from the flanks.

Stop drinking the vinegar: I can smell your
anger from here. Your stomping space is now
a foaming cage. Ernest Thompson Seton called —
he wants his crow back. You can keep the wolf.

They called the police to hunt a vixen in the park.
Some kids hand-fed her pieces of ham sandwich
crouched by the green bench in the shadow
of the Epiphany Branch of the Library. Kindness =

anarchy. But for now, stay still. Don’t move
even if you have to eat, fight, sleep, mate, or pee.
Don’t give me that look. I’ve got a tranquilizer gun.
You can be tagged; you can be monitored.

When you wake, rub as many trees as you can.
Let the bark bite you. A good bear won’t eat
children. A good woman will want lots. First rule
of survival: don’t do what comes naturally.



Tanis MacDonald’s fourth book of poetry, Mobile, is forthcoming from BookThug. She is a poet and creative non-fiction writer, founder of the Elegy Roadshow, and co-editor of the menstrual anthology GUSH (due out Spring 2018). She is a Canadian literature and elegy specialist teaching in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.