bear trap

RadioAradia
2 min readDec 12, 2022

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The mother is soft, and fierce from her scars.
Her cubs are not far.
My iron rusts jagged in a tuft of leaves,
hinges greased, spring-load primed.
There’s an art to laying trap,
the way the light hits a clearing,
the warmth and quiet of the space,
and the needmeat scent of bait –
promising respite for the cubs, for the mothers,
and for the cowards in the village.

How unsporting, and perverse,
to draw predators as prey,
to almost wish they’d run,
and then to be compelled,
by the inexorable mechanism of my despair,
to clasp up, faster than time,
flying through hide and muscle -
and crumbing the bones -
with the punishing force of tooth-metal.

I hate the screams now; I hate the jerks of pulling.
I hate the fruitless regret of bear, fox, wolf and hare —
and the fading howls of their young.
I hate the wait, after the struggle.
and I hate the trapper’s grace shot, down on tired, hopeless mothers,
reduced from grandeur to dying without privacy,
abandoned by their blood, judging themselves sternly,
trapped in my compassion.

Even the trapper who sets me
resents me and what I do.
Even as I fill his plate and pocket,
he fancies a steel snake would coil through my cogs,
tightening to burst my own metal bones,
to defuse me, deny me, to make it alright –
to stop the lure of crowned purpose,
from being a betrayal, wrought by small men,
from small huddled towns
on the edge of the woods.

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