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Dalton Day

This is the fourth step. It is the longest.

Shrinking Bear

Watching a bear shrink is an amazing thing. First, the bear raises a family. She works very hard. Her children love her very much. They love her so much, they have children of their own, and these grandchildren love her too, in different ways. This spectrum of love is the second step.

Third, the bear spends many hours and many days looking at the shadows of trees. She wishes she could climb them. Her paws tingle with the memory of getting oneself higher than the ground. The ground is so close to her now. She dreams in dirt.

Her many children come in & kiss her head, tell her how beautifully her hair shines. This happens for so long, the bear begins to think she is a person. This is the fourth step. It is the longest.

The final step cannot be measured. One day, the bear is festooned in smoke. Everyone covers their mouths & swipes their paws, trying to find her. When the smoke clears, the bear will be gone. Her children will spend the rest of their lives trying to pinpoint the moment the bear shrank, to no avail. It really is an amazing thing.

Dalton Day is an editor of FreezeRay Poetry & the author of the collection Supernova Factory. His work has been featured in Banango Street, The Good Men Project, and Heavy Feather Review. He can be found at myshoesuntied.tumblr.com, and on Twitter @lilghosthands. He thinks everything is cute and won't stop crying about it.