Black Bear Shuffle

It roams the pen interior,
Lost refugee left to wait
for the time it will leave,
dead, for the compost heap.
Shoulders shuffle, broad and wide,
black fur ripples with each stride.
Incessantly he walks the fence,
the perimeter, dividing line.
Staring at me as he prowls,
I remember my old dog,
collie meant for wide spaces,
stuck in a yard, crazed in town.
Cruelty is what I remember,
penning in something meant free.
Looking at the bear,
caged misery is all I see.
I pray its safe passage,
his mind be unleashed.
Let the bear imagine mountains,
rolling hills, and pine trees.
Leaving, the black bear keeps pacing,
ending only in death, release

By Carl Wade Thompson

Carl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.

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