by J. P. Dancing Bear

You are the shape of death kneeling among the lily pads.
The laid-out, prepared, bodies not sleeping.
The crucifix was your own, borrowed, put to use here…
splayed to look like a sacrifice, upright, a punishment,

a lesson plan, a warning.

It is a mythic lie to think of the carcass as reclined, relaxing,
sleeping on their lily beds.
It is as if your pink skin is a poison
and you've cleared this pond by diving in.  Something you

are known to do—some might even call it a signature move.

Even now,

you are scheming in concrete. You see the little dead

harbingers cleared away for a kiddy pool.
You close your ears and shout la-la-la should anyone

accuse you of being an animal too, an introduced specie,

that enters like a bullet.  The sky is a harsh season—

fallout rain as a condemnation.  Wading further in,

the browning leaves and dying fish in your wake, you say

its water off your back, though no duck will land here.



Some Are So Close


J. P. Dancing Bear J. P. Dancing Bear is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently, Inner Cities of Gulls (2010, Salmon Poetry). His next book, Family of Marsupial Centaurs, will be released by Iris Press. His poems have been published in Mississippi Review, Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Verse Daily and many other publications. He is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts.