The Bear on Main Street Poem By Dan Gerber
What made the man kill this bear?
His truck, across which the bear’s body lies,
tells me it wasn’t to feed his family
or because his children were cold.
The bear has beautiful black feet, delicate
almost, like the soles of patent leather slippers,
and the wind riffles the surface of its fur
with the sheen of water in the autumn sun.
The bear looks as if it might only be sleeping,
but its tongue lags from its mouth, and the man
has wrapped it with stout twine and bound it
to the bed of his truck,
as if he were afraid it might speak.
Three teenage boys pull their pickup to the curb,
One of the boys guesses what the bear must weigh.
Another wants to know how many shots it took,
and the third boy climbs down. He strokes its nose and forehead.
He traces the bear’s no longer living skull
with the living bones of his fingers
and wonders by what impossible road
he will come to his father’s country.