Owner of the Earth

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


Mid-January, & the bear who hasn’t had a meal in two months, & won’t for another three, half-wakes to chew sticks into soft chips, bedding for the cubs who will soon be born & squall & nurse. Later, in another wakeful period, she will chew off the calloused pads of her feet, full of last year’s travels. She may leave the den on her new feet to eat snow — or merely dream of it. And then she’ll go back under, as if in imitation of the winter trees: sap withdrawn, roots wedged tight into the bedrock. Her heart thumps just eight times a minute. But from the fastness of her dark unhungering bulk, milk will flow.


An earlier version of this appeared back in January under the title “Kenosis.”

This concludes “Bear Medicine,” which I think of as a single long prose poem or poetic essay in 12 named sections. Thanks for reading.

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5 Replies to “Owner of the Earth”

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad it resonated with you. (And I really must do a better job of following your blog — you have some wonderful stuff on there!)

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