At the bottom of a day’s adventures,
our flashlight beams lit the undersides
of arching redwood branches, beneath
which we spread our sleeping bags and
hid our stash of books.
Well after the moon had set, something
woke us—a sound, a grunt, a baby’s cry,
a strangled little moan from the friend
shivering beside me.
Peeking toward the campfire, I saw only
an absence of light, a gaping, bear-shaped
hole. I shushed my friend. We needed to
remain silent, completely still. And so,
we did, until our silence led us back into
the landscapes of our dreams.
Years later, and—aside from a tie-cord
ripped from the foot of my sleeping bag,
and a handful of ursine tracks, both
large and small, that night, like all good
nights, has retained its mysteries—and I
wouldn’t have had it any other way.
(c) 2018, by Hannah Six