Today's poem is by Jeff Friedman

Bear Fight

When Liza fell in with the bear, I was more than
disappointed as I had been in love with her since childhood.
"What's he got that I don't?" I asked as we walked past the
diner together. "He's a bear." She let go of my hand. "He
gets a little jealous when I'm out with my friends." "Why do
you want to be with a bear anyway?" Two teenagers pushed
past us with their skateboards. Balloons floated above Main
street, announcing a sale at the furniture shop. "W,hy do you
want to be with me?" she asked. We parted ways when the
light changed, but later I went to her home dressed as a bear.
She opened the door. "Come in," she said, putting her arms
around me. 'You don't smell like a bear," she said. Then in
walked the bear, with a fierce look on his face. He growled
and so did I. He cuffed me, so I cuffed him back. Then we
grappled with each other, bear-hugging until Liza stepped
in between us and held out her hands. "I'm sick of bears," she
said. "Get out of here." I ripped off my bear mask. "I'm not a
bear," I said. The bear ripped off his. "I quit this game," he
said. "I'm not a bear either." Liza removed her mask, and she
wasn't Liza. We ran away as fast as we could. I made it back
to my place and locked the door, turning on the outside light,
but all night I heard her huffing.

Copyright © 2014 Jeff Friedman All rights reserved
from Pretenders
Carnegie Mellon University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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