Linda Hogan
Bear Fat

When the old man rubbed my back

with bear fat

I dreamed the winter horses

had eaten the bark off trees

and the tails of one another.


I slept a hole into my own hunger

that once ate lard and bread

from a skillet seasoned with salt.


Fat was the light

I saw through

the eyes of the bear

three bony dogs leading men

into the grass-lined caves of sleep

to kill hunger

as it slept itself thin.


They grew fat

with the swallowed grease.

They ate even the woodashes

after the fire died

and when they slept,

did they remember back

to when they were wolves?


I am afraid of the future

as if I am the bear

turned in the stomach

of needy men

or the wolf become a dog

that will turn against itself

remembering what wilderness was

before the crack of a gun,

before the men tried to kill it

or tame it

or tried to make it love them.

Found In Volume , No. 1993
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Linda Hogan
About the Author

A Chickasaw novelist, essayist, and environmentalist, Linda Hogan's awards include a Lannan Literary Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. She is the author of the poetry collections Calling Myself Home (1978), Daughters, I Love You (1981); Eclipse (1983); Seeing Through the Sun (1985), which won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Savings (1988), The Book of Medicines, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (1993); and Rounding the Human Corners (2008).