I knew I had to take it in at night, but forgot, looking at the stars. I heard it crush under a bear’s foot or at least I thought this while I slept. I woke early and fed the cats their cream and one fish liver. The light hadn’t come up yet over the meadow of little bluestem and wild strawberry, some fading lupine. I could see the shoulder of an island, and the soft gray earth of Superior though there was still a mist. I sat outside near the fiery geranium leaning away inside the same pot from the blue lobelia that is tricky to grow; it needs more cold for its darkest blue. There was a bear. No, it was a hole in the maples. I was wishing for a bear. Then as the lake lit up, and the birds began, I saw the feeder on the ground, broken, a splash of gold seed, overnight most of the great harvest already eaten.
I looked for her prints in the sand, under the shepherd’s hook where I hung the feeder, and picked up the globe that was first cracked, then bitten. I felt inside the steps she took from the hemlocks across the native seed grass we planted, just beginning to break out of its clay. The prints were much longer than my hand, not as deep as my heel. I could not slip my fingertips inside the fine claws. She had crossed what will be a small yard surrounded by raspberries, ferns, and red lilies, then she went down the hill where one day she can live in woods when they grow big enough for bear. She knew what she was looking for, and it was easy, to pick up the hive of seeds and run a claw, let them fall, tongue them in the sand, these seeds she spread overnight in a long curve, licked into wet clay licked hard, planted now in our soil.
It makes me think I’m not alone.
It makes me think I’m alive.
I can feel death,
It makes me hurt,
billowing over the universe.
It loves volcanoes,
bores the eye’s shoulder,
a volcanic inching heart,
the universe’s sucking rhythm,
its own edge worn to a new edge
miles back. The frush
creeps and turns, senses the fall,
how one lights up,
how one goes home in the dark.
Nancy Takacs lives in Utah and Wisconsin with her husband and two dogs. Her latest book is Blue Patina, published in 2015 by Blue Begonia Press.