Maxine Kumin


In the Park


You have forty-nine days between
death and rebirth if you're a Buddhist.
Even the smallest soul could swim
the English Channel in that time
or climb, like a ten-month-old child,
every step of the Washington Monument
to travel across, up, down, over or through
--you won't know till you get there which to do.

He laid on me for a few seconds
said Roscoe Black, who lived to tell
about his skirmish with a grizzly bear
in Glacier Park.He laid on me not doing anything.I could feel his heart
beating against my heart.
Never mind lie and lay, the whole world
confuses them.For Roscoe Black you might say
all forty-nine days flew by.

I was raised on the Old Testament.
In it God talks to Moses, Noah,
Samuel, and they answer.
People confer with angels.Certain
animals converse with humans.
It's a simple world, full of crossovers.
Heaven's an airy Somewhere, and God
has a nasty temper when provoked,
but if there's a Hell, little is made of it.
No longtailed Devil, no eternal fire,

and no choosing what to come back as.
When the grizzly bear appears, he lies/lays down
on atheist and zealot.In the pitch-dark
each of us waits for him in Glacier Park.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • David Wilkins (4/19/2012 8:23:00 AM)

    i feel like this is a very well done poem, it is probably hard to read for some people but i could understand it perfectly. this work of art is so true in many ways because it talks about how we make a big deal if we upset God but dont really care about the ramifications. we should all take note from this poem, because one day that grizzly might get us! (Report) Reply

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