How to Prepare Bear, by Laura Budofsky Wisniewski

As soon as you’ve taken her down
skin her. That hide holds heat.
You’ll be tempted to wrap yourself
in her. Don’t.
Cool the carcass fast. Every minute
counts. Butcher her
conventionally:
chops, steaks, roasts, shoulders, rump.
Let’s talk flavor.
If she feasted on acorns,
apples,
reships,
wild grape,
black walnut,
if she drank upstream,
you’ll taste it.
You’ll taste the cave dreams.
You’ll taste the half moon.
Try to get a young one.
The old ones are dry.
Use dark wine or milk to break
the muscle down.

Slow cook, if you want,
but you can’t get her strength
that way.
Best to use an open fire.
Sear her.
Tear her flesh
with your teeth.
Sop her fat with bread.
Swallow her.
Even then, though,
you won’t know her.
You won’t know bear.


Laura Budofsky Wisniewski eats, writes, and teaches Yoga in a small town in Vermont. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Calyx, Hunger Mountain Review, Confrontation, Pilgrimage and other journals. She is winner of the 2014 Passager Poetry Prize.

featured image via Tory Kallman on Flickr.

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