Right at dusk the mother bear
leads her cubs down to
the edge of the woods
& stops, hearing a screen door
ease open, smelling trouble.

My grossly unequal nose picks up
nothing of her musk or
the sweet milk oozing
from well-bit nipples.
My primate eyes are made for
the colors of day, not shades
of darkness. I peer
into every shadow between the trees,
each clot of night.

The space between us fills
with explosions of breath:
I hear claws on tree trunks
& small things running through the brush.
When the mother clacks her teeth,
I hear the dangerous size of her
in that hollow TOCK

I lean out over the porch rail, listening,
naked from the waist up.
A mosquito whines in my ear.
The fireflies, as usual,
illuminate nothing.

The next morning, when I go to look,
every rock on the hillside
has been moved from its bed.