by Anna B. Sutton

back home a bear
crossed the parking lot of a local bowling alley

and the town went wild      we aimed

cameras at our backyards
like birds of prey      we craned

our necks while driving      scanned

the woods along the interstate
for a telltale black mass      different

than the ones we knew      furrying

the corners  of our master baths
or eclipsing our PET scans with

their absences      desperate

to find him      some earthly beast      local TV
vans parked outside A1 Lanes      prowled

the suburban streets where scientists told us

he would be by then      no one
saw him again      as a child, I didn’t

want to be wild      I wanted to be kept

in a cage dangling only feet
above a carpeted floor      a pretty

bird      a mimeographer      a full breast

bursting with feather      jewel
tones that dinner

guests would remark on between bites

of pecan pie      who would trade
a plump handful of seed

for an afternoon spent scooping

discarded nacho cheese
from a dumpster      but here I am

perched in the snow with a family

of wolves      opening my mouth
for the alpha female      who licks inside

my cheek      this is how

she decides if I am
friend or foe      some small

part of me  wanting her teeth

Anna B. Sutton is a therapist and poet living in North Carolina. Her award-winning debut collection, Savage Flower, was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2021. Individual poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Quarterly West, Los Angeles Review and elsewhere.