The USDA Forest Service gave us two
uniforms each—pants, shirts, wide-brimmed hats, all green—
and three mustangs named Deetz, Doc, and Big Al, wild-caught.
When the grizzly came into camp
the horses puffed up like stuffed animals from the dryer,
stamped the ground and didn’t pull their pickets.
The bear looked in my eyes and turned away.
Nothing like the bear encounter DVD said at all.
Mosquitoes and flies and oxygen-less air
sucked something out of us that summer, left it there.
We stayed in the backcountry, while
back at the ranger station the ground squirrels
chewed the insides of our waiting car.
Nine years on, another cabin in the woods.
Electricity, and a wireless router
tucked behind remote-controlled candles.
Our son asks why Dad can’t sleep over anymore.
I draw an answer from my tired collection,
end it with: it isn’t your fault.
He says: who would you fall in love with, besides Dad?
A hummingbird found its way inside the cabin,
I remember it banging at its reflection in the glass,
we trapped its buzzing between our four hands.
We should wear gloves to keep our scent off, I said,
though our gloves reeked of turpentine and linseed oil.
By Lyndsey Weiner
Lyndsey Kelly Weiner is a graduate of Stonecoast MFA and teaches writing at Syracuse University. She blogs at haikuveg.com/.