Facing the Bear

Always the neighbors
Are sighting bears
And chasing me inside:
"Be careful!"
"He's huge!"
"She'll be ferocious with her cubs!"
On and on.

I have not seen the bears.

In fact,
I have doubted their existence
Until tonight:

I found myself within feet of  a black bear
Meandering around a neighbor's garden.

He was as big as his legend.

I stepped forward a few paces,
The better to see him without my glasses.

He stood still.
I stood still.

He stepped backward,
And was gone.

That's how it is with bears.
No need to panic. No need to run.

Just take a step forward,
And they vanish.

And you keep on.