Bjorn and Bera

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Bear Medicine


She thought she recognized in the bear the eyes of Bjorn, the king’s son, and so she did not try to run away. —The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki (trans. by Jesse Byock)

From palace to cave: one wound closes & another gapes. It turns out the king’s cattle are horned marauders, a scourge on the land. I cut them open & find shredded leaves, aborted destinies. But when the sun goes down the trees stretch, reclaiming the crofts, & I return to my mountain & to you.

When you saw me bloody in the pens, your fear was only that I would leave you among those bewitched creatures shaped through the ages by human hungers. Here, our desire is like water from a glacier, white with the milk of stones. We remember who we were before furs & fabrics, even before they gave us names & trajectories.

I can get more naked than any other beast. Tomorrow I will lie down in a circle of hunters & let them try to find me in that mountain of flesh. Only your hand slipping under my shoulder will recover the gold ring that, in another story, might’ve pierced my septum. From our union will come wild hunters of men.

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