Three Poems by Rebecca Baggett

Ghazal: Bear

Despite the placard against the wall

with its warning, we do not believe in the bear.

We have stayed here so often, it seems like our own:

cabins and wooded trails, caves that I joke must house bears.

My sister stands up from the table, hisses,

“Come here!” I do not imagine you, Bear.

I have watched your sad kin pace bare earth in zoos,

but now: a god rising from grass, granite-black: Bear.

A childhood book, barely remembered – two sisters,

one golden, one dark. Briar Rose. Her lover a bear.

Grief is my litany, losses my rosary,

your world among them, a guilt that my kind must bear.

Back home in the city, far from this wilderness,

I will wake in the night and remember you, Bear.


Ice Storm

A branch snaps with a whip-crack

high over your right shoulder.  You bolt upright

in bed, knowing what that sound portends -- 

no time to leap aside if it’s aimed at you.

Underground, that’s where you should have slept,

huddled in some den like a rabbit or bear.

You should have cut the damn trees down.

Then the heavy swish and slip, the shudder

as half the tree and its ice-cloak slam the ground.

Your heart’s stutter in the moment before 

you know this death has spared you, though 

the night has many more hours, many more trees 

to fall, and you will lie awake, anticipate them all.


Fog Fills the Winter Valley

Fog fills the winter valley, 

wine in a silver cup.

Its silence echoes 

what the stars won’t tell;

its scent is clean and brisk

as snow.  I part my lips 

and taste it on my tongue.

I could die of thirst 

before I drink enough

of the fog and of this world 

with its soft and its rough, 

its jagged mornings

and tender nights,

the moon leaning down

to witness our brief lives,

as we flicker like fireflies

through the haze 

that envelops us.

The fog slips down my throat

like smoke.  Never


Rebecca Baggett is the author of the prize-winning collection, The Woman Who Lives Without Money (Regal House Publishing, 2022) and four chapbooks.  Recent work appears in Asheville Poetry Review, Poetry Daily, Salt, The Southern Review, and The Sun.  She lives with her husband, Elmer Clark, in Athens, Georgia, where she stewards Little Free Library #110,420 and plants native gardens.