Encounter in August by Maxine Kumin

Encounter in August

by Maxine Kumin

Inside the tepee that admits
sunlight to the underpart
he stands eating my Kentucky Wonders.
Downs pod after pod, spilling the beans,
the ones I’d saved for shelling out
this winter, thinking soup
when he’d gone deep, denned up.

This is not Eden, which ran
unfenced and was not intercropped,
Eden, where frost never overtook a patch.
We stand ten yards apart, two omnivores
not much interested in flesh.
I think he ought to smell me through his greed
or hear my heart outbeat his steady chomp

but nothing interrupts his lunch.
At last he goes the way the skunk
does, supreme egoist, ambling
into the woodlot on all fours
leaving my trellis flat and beanless
and yet I find the trade-off fair:
beans and more beans for this hour of bear.

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