Arielle Greenberg

Bear Suit



I often want to do things.

For example, it’s often that I want to crawl under a table.

I often like a corner, too.

And it’s often that I want to zip open someone else’s bear suit

and crawl inside with them.

A pair of mascots.  Two super-safers.


Do you have a length of binding tape?

If so, you know a ghost.

If so, okay.  Me, too.

Those of us who can imagine death at a distance

get some God and some magic.

Those of us who have no distance, more magic.

Not too sure about more God.

Is that something you’d want?


My jacket button is the faded face of a ghost

I know dearly.  My husband is my cheery mascot.

I am secure because I hop up and down on that ravine

with my red and white measuring tape,

nimble and quick as if my feet were on fire.


September 11, 2008



Yes I am soaping the windows


this town is shut down

reminding me of another shut-down town

with soaped windows, cigar Indian


Yes I am scared of the wolf-hunting woman and her beauty jaw


Yes what am I doing here knuckled behind

these soaped windows when down goes another wolfanother town


the question who would want to declare war on America  is asked


oh soap up those windows


pull the feathers on my head

holler boy

shut it down between the ears


I will name all my family Wolf

and we’ll run from this country we wrongly call our own

because when the war is declared we’ll be in the woods, running from the sky


ARIELLE GREENBERG is co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic (1913 Press); author of My Kafka Century (Action Books) and Given (Wave Books); and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque (Saturnalia Books).  She lives in Maine and teaches in the Oregon State University-Cascades MFA and in the local community, and writes a column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.