Books tell us how to pierce the neck,
how to open the airway of a fellow passenger
with a hollow pen, how to wrestle an alligator,
but not how to out-swim a bear.
There’s no out-swimming a bear.
Books tell us about men on mountaintops
who freeze without ever putting on
the extra sweaters in their packs,
who starve with food in their pockets,
poor bastards, they tell us how not to be like them.
We bring ourselves to very cold places
so we may feel warmer when we huddle inside.
We admire the raptors that live in our city,
a city we’d thought unfit for the wild,
the way they soar above traffic and make nests
of pylons and still manage to find trees.
We admire the way they wait for mates
no one believes will ever come
and the way they mate, and the way they wait
for a new mate when the old one suddenly is gone.
Copyright © 2013 Lisa Olstein
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.