by Michael Mlekoday

The black bear of a Bible
that belonged to my great grandparents
has gold-lined pages, paws
dipped in honey.

Running through its forests
is like déjà vu every time.
The black bear eats everything.
If you've never stared past its teeth,

you've never held your breath waiting
to be ended. The largest male black bear
weighs almost a thousand pounds
and can be found hunting at night

somewhere in Northern Minnesota.
I still have nightmares of his silence.
I haven't eaten fish since I saw him pick a salmon
from its bones.