Beauty and the Beast Revisited

Met a bear who proclaimed himself man –
knew the instant I spotted him, lumbering
gait approaching, that he was an animal,
feared for my safety, would have retreated,

stayed at my mother’s side – sheltered in
familiarity – were I not so fixated on his
blatant woundedness. Sympathy blinding
sensibility, I listened, hypnotized

by the whiteness of his exposed skin,
wanted to believe the veracity of his
tales of conversion, could visualize
him sitting in church, imagine the

horror of the congregants melting,
as I was, into acceptance, drinking
in his words, hearts soaring at his
professed abstinence from sins of

the flesh; none of us immune to
fairy-tale endings, faith above all.
Left the sanctity of mother’s fold,
followed him to his wooded lair;

read humility into his minimalist
housing, swept away his cobwebs
and my dreams, determined to
find fulfillment in domesticity.

The forest has its own story to tell –
nature does not lie – a beast does not
its essence forget, in time his true
temperament emerged, and I, lost,

withered into a crumpled ball,
a wisp of a character,  weakened,
disheartened, could not bend
myself to become either bear

nor Goldilocks, could not tame
his insatiable grumblings nor
abide long winters confined,
discovered too late the folly

of my girlish fantasies, learned
that sympathy did not beget love,
and denying instincts did not alter
the fact that a bear is not a man.

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