Tread Well

Timothy Treadwell, 1957-2003, grizzly bear activist and videographer, killed and eaten by a grizzly bear after living a decade in the Alaskan wilderness in the area known as the grizzly maze


berate the gods to end the drought so the salmon
can run and the bear can eat but don’t think

the rain is a response to your prayers            and you
have moved mountains, let alone heaven

or the grizzly thanks you                        bears and
gods are dispassionate, ask Job

solitude is seductive and so is the edge
of life                   no one to talk to

but the bear
lumbering large and slow behind you

like backdrop amongst the arctic grasses
but you are the backdrop      

so tread well                           be content with the company
of foxes that romp at your feet and

tame you for the stroke of your hand
steal your cap and scent for their den

the bear will leave the cap and take your scent
think nothing more of it (the former you)

although the watch still counts time 
on the arm found along the grizzly maze

a grisly find           we each have a bear 
we stalk through the Alaska

of ourselves our grizzly maze           
we think the bear stalks us, such ego

to suppose the grizzly cares
remember this

as the bear swims the Alaskan waters
its massive head like the iceberg

and you stand in the frigid water up to your thighs bent over
skin exposed reach fingers for the bear whisper sweet nonsense

words to appease the grizzly as it slides past you
for shore             now close enough to touch its back

 and you can’t resist





© Marianne Paul 2011