GRIZ, Lowell Jaeger

Griz
by Lowell Jaeger 

Narrow trail twists through neck-high thickets
of alders and hellebore, climbs onward around a blind turn,
and there he is: big hunk of shaggy brown griz, stopped
in his tracks, nose in the air, sniffing
intruders’ sweat wafting suddenly too near.

Three of us and one of him, sufficient heft on his bones
to bulldoze forward if he chooses, mulling this over
as he rocks on his forelegs, hulking shoulders flexing
side to side. Nothing to rescue us but precious little
time, as we step back, slowly, the way we came,
savvy enough to not stare at him head-on.

Careful not to shuffle wrong and stumble. Outcome
could be one account or another. And now
he’s looming above us, continuing past, as we
wait meekly, downhill side, scant yards off-trail.
He’s god of where he wants to go. Our silence
is a kind of weak-kneed prayer.

Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, author of seven collections of poems, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.

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About barkingsycamores 173 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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