By Eric Fisher Stone
What can be shown cannot be said.
His parents stepped off the trail
to film a moose. Next dawn no one found
the child except a grizzly sow.
She lost a cub that spring, nursed
the three-year-old, milk thundering
from her nipples’ dark gourds, his mouth
juiced with butterfat thick as moonlight.
Midsummer, he forgot human speech
while his surviving cub sister chewed
raw salmon, their stomachs packing
fetid meat, raspberries’ lacquer gushing
their teeth scarlet. By autumn
he mimicked bear huffs and grunts
as wind sluiced pines, chipmunks hurtled
like mad rats through woods without words
for death. The boy died that winter
in the hibernating den. Mother bear’s
bready hump slurred warm with her pulse.
His last wordless thoughts seemed: Here,
the ground creams snow. My ear pressed
to her back gathers her sound.
My breath walks through the cold air.
Above, the world tastes like trees. Here
is earth. I love what I cannot name.
Eric Fisher Stone is a poet from Fort Worth, Texas. He received his MFA in creative writing from Iowa State University. His first book of poems, The Providence of Grass, was published by Chatter House Press in 2018. His second book of poems, Animal Joy, is forthcoming from WordTech Editions in 2021.