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Does that bear want to eat me?

Don't forget your bear spray!!!

By Jill Harper-JuddPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read
Does that bear want to eat me?
Photo by Hans Veth on Unsplash

I caught a nice string of salmon to take home for dinner.

But there’s a great huge bear blocking the trail.

My dog Max growls, deep. Hackles are up.

We change course, moving sideways and away.

I know better than to dance with a grizzly.

Damn-it!! The bear swings his head and catches our scent.

The stench might be and Max – we could both use a good bath.

But maybe just the fish. Gutted fish stink. Hard to miss.

The bear turns in our direction and lumbers towards us.

Oh, God. He’s not charging. Yet.

But he is definitely coming.

The rangers say to stand your ground if you are charged.

But shit!

This fella is big and old and probably mean.

And standing my ground doesn’t sound so good.

Cause I’m an idiot who forgot his bear spray.

And I think I’d lose that fight.

I have only one chance to distract him so we can try to run.

But I think it is a good one.

I’m gambling that he’s after the fish – fish won’t growl or fight back.

Or talk to the bear like it’s a dog “Hi boy, here you go, aren’t you a handsome fella?”

Which is supposed to confuse the bear and keep it from attacking. Maybe.

So instead I fling the whole string of salmon right at him.

Our dinner…his now if he takes it.

"Look bear, nice juicy salmon right there in front of you!!!"

He lowers his head to sniff - and that’s my cue to get out of there!

I don’t need to wait around to see if he eats it all.

But we do detour - fast - away from him in a big arc

Trying to avoid coming face to face again. Once was plenty for me.

I move cautious but steady.

Max slowly stops growling and settles down.

And as we move further away and deeper into the trees

I can still hear the bear snuffling and eating

Crunching through scales and bones.

Six big salmon will take him a little while.

In the end,

We made it out and no-one got hurt.

That’s a miracle right there!!

But Max and I are going to be having

Burgers from the diner tonight. With extra fries.

And I picked up a whole case of bear spray.

As the commercials used to say: “Never leave home without it.”

Author's note: I'm actually exploring three different narrative styles for the *same* story. I have a Haiku (Bear, fish, run) that is the simplest, then this poem in free verse and then a short story told with humor. I'm interested in which receives the most reader response and engagement...which version do you think is better? Let me know!

nature poetry

About the Creator

Jill Harper-Judd

I've been writing poetry and short stories since childhood....but my life has often been chaotic so (mental) space to write can be hard to find. I am a lover of words and the worlds we can create with them. I seek beauty in all things.

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