I Wake up to the Breathing of Bears

and one in particular,
her nose against my cheek,
as wet and deeply brown as earth,
and too far down for me to see.
She introduces me
to the warmth and nacre of her mouth,
to salmonberries and bugs,
the fallen flesh of the forest,
nurse logs in the undergrowth,
to the yellow avalanche lily.

I wake to the breathing of a bear,
kind and close,
snuffling and dripping
from the tender tunnels of her own body.
She measures me between pads as big as plates,
her own five-pointed ivory flowers,
the better to picture
my eyes and sockets,
the stripped skin of the skull.

And it is always like that:
the world, when it wakes me,
because it so loves me raw,
unwrapped of lists of things to do,
the coffee cups / the smell of fear
and productivity.

That is
the way it is
when the world wakes me up,
inflated by sleep:
it is the liminal tooth
that pops and punctures me.

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