A canyon of caves looms over the train tracks
like a city block, high rises swollen with lives
you’ll never even glimpse. Each bear’s breath
echoes from the rocky mouths, slumbering five short.
The missing bodies hang from a neighbor’s garage,
strung up to let blood. Last summer, a black bear hung
his head through an open window in the downstairs bedroom
and watched my family sleep. As a child, I found a fresh track
in the mud and thought human—saw heavy heel, swell
of arch, five toes, thought barefoot. To break a dancing bear,
trainers would tether her to an iron stage, shoes bandaged
over her back feet, a slow fire heating the floor. To stand
was salvation, survival swaying to the music.
Anna B. Sutton is a poet and publisher from Nashville, TN. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Third Coast, Quarterly West, Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Southeast Review, and other journals. She is the co-founder of The Porch Writer’s Collective, a web editor at One Pause Poetry, poetry editor at Dialogist, a nonfiction reader at Gigantic Sequins, and project manager at John F. Blair, Publisher, in North Carolina. She received her MFA from UNC Wilmington and a James Merrill fellowship from Vermont Studio Center.