We make a pretty pair, the three of us—
you and I, and the giant sleeping bear
that somehow never looks as dangerous
as we both know he is. He’s always there
when two of us are present, or when one
is thinking of the other (or is not).
We never calculate the risk we run
when navigating ’round him, till we’re caught
between a twitching paw and china case,
or wall of photos we had strangers take,
or shelf with someone’s mother’s crystal vase—
and one more step means something has to break.
Then, afterward, when he goes back to sleep,
I hold the dustpan steady while you sweep.
—from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
Tribute to Speculative Poetry
David Rosenthal: “I love my wife dearly, and though I have occasionally been mistaken for a giant, sleeping bear, and though I have encountered several wild bears—including a fairly harrowing experience with a sow, her cub, and an armful of delicious pastries—and though my wife and I share our home with two teenage daughters and two cats, all of whom display bearlike characteristics from time to time, there are no bears—giant, sleeping, or otherwise—involved in my very happy marriage.” (web)