Bear Lexicon By Eric Fisher Stone

By Eric Fisher Stone


What can be shown cannot be said.

—Wittgenstein, Tractatus


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.