Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Duran Canyon

by Tina Kessinger

We gathered wood from an old
beaver dam where the creek had
shrunk and left it heaped, pale
as bones, tooth-notched at each
polished end. It made a good fire,
warmed us as the mountain spread
its nightly chill and we sat
watching as the moon climbed the
ridge and hung itself, ripe
as a summer pear over the jagged
wall of ponderosa and spruce.

We spoke the half-speak of old
friends, unveiled the small truths
we carry like seeds, waiting patiently
for creation. you told me of
a chance meeting with the lover
you hadn’t seen for years, how
he told you right there
in the hardware store that he
still loved you, how you cried
afterward in your car before you
drove home to the man who has
tried to replace him.

Later I woke to a rustling at
our zippered door, lay there
listening as the visitor made its
way down to the fire. I thought
of bears and men, of the fragility
of our enormous faith. I listened
to the scrape of our chicken-stained
grill against rock and waited,
frozen in the soft cocoon of my
sleeping bag until the intruder
returned and revealed itself,
its tiny paws probing the tent,
framed in the moonlight eager
and innocent and alive with its
own small worrying need.