After the bear left I walked into my neighbor's house to borrow her TV. The kids tear around the squalid downstairs while I follow her to the second floor. She comes at me with a safety pin. I dodge the point and sprint down the stairs. I shove her children behind me, spread my arms wide, and bellow.
Two days earlier I and a friend from high school were creeping through the labyrinthine underground of the city's public library. The tall man in dark clothes planned to kill us. We emerged on the streets, sprinting through sidewalk cafes and past shiny rows of rent-a-bikes. People glared up from conversation, annoyed their bike helmets had been bumped or their coffee spilled. We ran and he followed, a block behind and gaining.
The night before that you showed me the bruise on your penis. I was concerned but also (I confess) my gaze wasn't confined to the bruise. Your pants were unzipped and you held the length of it in your hand.
In the past month I have escaped a water cult after witnessing the torture of my friends and family. I have fled from a serial murderer of women, who kept me and a sister chained in a small room in a large house in the woods. We made it gasping to the trees but were running in circles. I have seen the house I thought I'd left looming before me, heard his laughter from behind the lit window late at night, and realized with ice-cold clarity that I did not know how to get away from that place.
I have been chased through the woods and through the streets and through the hidden crawlspaces in so many darkened buildings. I have had sex with you and with him and have woken up flushed and blushing. I have pulled my pubic hair out in clumps til I was clean-shaven and smooth. I have grown long, glossy hair on either side of my belly button and combed its length with my fingers.
I have consulted the dream dictionaries online and it seems I have mother issues, repressed anger issues, untold power, and an awakening sexuality, and I am either going to be very rich or very poor, depending on what happens to my pubic hair.
My purpose is sitting at your kitchen table. You bring me dog chow and flowers from the porch, hoping this will appease me.
As a bear, my goal is to confront you with Power and Presence in the living room, astride these white couches and this beige Oriental rug.
As a bear, my biggest fear is that the salmon stop running.
As a bear, I love gooseberries in the peak of July.
As a bear, I hate small-minded people.
As a bear, I desire that you stop simpering before your own power as it rattles around your bruised rib cage, inside this remodeled home. I'll break in month after month until you stand your ground in the doorway or I rip the flesh from your bones.