We climbed through thick brush to the top of the ridge,
rested on moss. Stepped to the cliff’s edge
and both saw the flash of black fur.
Bear. We said it together,
touching hands as we bent to see.
It strolled under a maple tree
fifty feet beneath us, squat and fat,
into a patch of early spring sunlight,
and rolled around there, while we watched, delighted.

And all my life I’ll hold this image in my mind:
the bright sun in your eyes
the color of moss-covered rocks;
the bear, unaware of us, above;
and at the end of my despair, this love.

(kz 1988)

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