June 30

I had a bear, a little wizard with moons and stars on his hat.
He was a constant companion and if he wasn’t shoved under my arm,
I’d loop the tip of his hat through my belt and he’d face-butt my thighs as I’d walk.
My mother named him Whimsy but I always called him Bear.

I remember one day in specific:

We never (Bear and I) had seen a pond before.
Had never heard the ruffle shuffle as
a cool breeze misted though the reeds.

There were deep storm clouds approaching
and Bear, I was sure, was afraid.
They stalked across the sky,
breaking away from the wolf pack
of black thundercaps haunting the mountain,
hunting us, dripping saliva from gaping maws.
They were heavy and impatient,
sending a shiver of anticipation though the wind.
Bear was most afraid when the birds fell silent,
waiting for the coming storm.

But mother had taught me to face my fears.
So we crossed towards the shore line.

Cradling Bear’s paw in my hand,
I tugged a long green shaft of reeds from the ground.
We had found our weapon,
and it made Bear feel better to
snap out a couple of practice swings.

We could hear the rumble growl of the wolves behind us
and I squeezed my bear close.
‘You are a mighty wizard’
I whispered in his ear.

The first bead of rain dropped on my forehead,
dripped between my eyes and down the side of my nose.
Bear reached up and wiped the drop from my cheek.

And I looked at Bear and saw in his black beady eyes,
a willingness to fight despite his fear.
And I know he smiled and I smiled back.


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