When we are in bed and you are on top of me, I think about the painting of the bear hanging over the great stone fireplace. I say to myself, bear, tell me a story about your tooth and your hide, about the three dogs that bare their teeth, and about the one dog that is so brave, he takes your flank in his jaw and hangs from it. Bear, tell me about the time it takes to put a sweater on. I want to know what it means to lie down empty. And bear answers, I have always been ashamed. I put on fish skin. They sometimes call the bear a lonely monk. The bear’s habitat is the gorge, the tree, the cleft of rock. If you open the bear’s stomach, you will find a rubber doll and a piece of canvas. I tap my upper and lower eye-teeth together. I refuse to eat. You laid yourself beside me, and I realized I was cold in my hairless skin. I wear wool in the rain so I will smell like bear, so that she will kiss my shoulder as I kiss the wood of our cabin walls.


 ~ J'Lyn Chapman ~

Additional work by J'lyn Chapman appears in the print issue 0.9375.

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