The Bear That Stole My Identity

"If I Had a 3D Printer" and "The Charming Bear," two poems by Gary Leising

Bear and recycling nin

The Bear That Stole My Identity

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If I Had a 3D Printer

I’d print out a crocodile & feed it
my left hand, then print out another,
prosthetic hand & feed it that one,
etc., ad infinitum. The beast would be
hungry, & I have less use for myself
these days since all the plastic filament
in the printer can be replenished
with online ordering. I’ve nested
in blankets on my couch, not even
going to bed, not ever leaving home
because the job I’ve probably been
fired from hurts less than losing
an appendage. Lonely, I’ll have
a friend in the crocodile, symbiotic
natural relationship because he’ll
need my hands & I’ll need his love.
What will appear first, his tail or head?
If head, will the teeth begin to bite
before his heart is printed, before
he can feel the sick, reptilian love
between us telling him to stop eating,
to wait for a new hand to devour?

The Charming Bear

It dug through my trash for gorgonzola
& popped the slimy hunk in its mouth
using its claws like human fingers,
though it couldn’t have. They can’t.
It would overcome the lock on the bear fence,
I knew, I could read its mind
as it polished off my food waste
& moved on to my mail. Invoices,
statements, blood test results,
all things my wife said to shred
—but around here, who steals your trash?
This bear. He looked at me
& I knew he was going to steal
my identity. Could he hack my accounts?
Had he overheard my mother’s maiden name?
The neighbors’ garage thundered open
& he ran. To get him back,
I took a styrofoam tray of ground beef,
ripped away the plastic wrap, & squeezed
the soft mass so the juices dripped & its scent
blossomed a message in my yard: Bear,
a gift. On all fours in the bushes,
my own hands smelled like sweet iron.
I licked the juice from one, plucked
tiny red berries from the shrub,
smiled over the ants & water bugs
weaving among the moist pine mulch.
I shoved a handful in my mouth,
chewed it like gum, forgetting
where I was & why.

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