Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tuesday poem #306 : Mikko Harvey : American Beech

I was hideously, lewdly
drunk in the forest.
It was a Tuesday afternoon
and I had left
everything behind—
I mean everything.
The variegated greens
of the forest spun on their axis
like a basketball balanced
on a child’s fingertip.
After stumbling between trees
for several minutes, the nausea caught up with me.
I rested my arm against an American
beech to steady myself, and that’s
when I saw the bear. 
A bear is like a beautiful man
in more ways than one.
It sat there gazing at me.
It didn’t charge,
nor did it run away.
For a long time the two of us
did nothing. It was actually
more boring than scary, after a while.
I noticed a toad hopping near my
foot. Unfortunately
I had no choice
but to vomit at this point,
and the bear stirred ominously.
I was unable to glean
any information from its body language
because I was so fucking drunk.
I decided to simply stand there,
letting the world do with me as it pleased.
Later I came to recognize this
as flawed and more or less
suicidal thinking.
But as that bear drew
near me, then stooped down to sniff
my vomit,
then began eating it,
and seemed to be enjoying it—
this is how I came to see myself,
finally, as a person with something to offer.

Mikko Harvey is the author of Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi). He received the 2017 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award, and you can find his poems in places such as Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Lemon Hound, and Maisonneuve. He is a poetry editor for Fairy Tale Review, and he currently lives in Maine.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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