Christine Guaragno

My nasty woman is a bear I found while marching January 21st, 2016

In me, the bear is a bear, but small. In the city I pledge to grow the bear strong in the hothouse of my stomach. I say to the bear:           I will bring you to the light. I will give you a space in my house to lumber about. I will heave you out. I will hurl your grumble or growl or gospel of truth. I will swallow bones for you. I will swallow wool and hooks. I will swallow my own chickenheart. I will swallow a swallow to give you company. I will swallow you a safe to put your valuables, you can swallow them too. I will bless you and keep you. I will let light shine upon you so all the world can see your face. How does the bear stay alive in the stomach? Is she made of acid, is she a coil of hair and flotsam? I unravel my wool hat into a ball of yarn, fingering the end into a loop, a slip chain. I start again on the hat, the same wool hat I crochet every morning while the bear washes herself, washes me, her tongue a rough hot brush.

Christine Guaragno is an MFA student at the University of Memphis.

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