The Bears on the Stairs.

February 26, 2017 § 2 Comments



There is a place at the top of the stairs,

that’s a favorite haunt of nighttime bears.

They park their butts so fuzzy and wide,

two across and side-by-side.


Sis and I sleep unawares,

guarded safe by those bears on the stairs.

Lulled by the music of grunt, rustle, groan,

we sleep secure; we are not alone.


And we dream of bears in tutus pink,

all Disney, not real bears that snuffle and stink.

And the bears on the stairs squint into the dark,

the downstairs clock ticks,

the neighbors’ dogs bark.


The bears, impassive, stoic, and stout,

breathe in the night and huff morning out.

And as first light filters through balusters white,

the nighttime bears shimmer,

then vanish from sight.


But when night falls again and day flickers out,

the click of hard toenails, the damp of a snout,

the flump of butts furry, the breath tinged with trout,

tell young sleepers, you’re safe,

the bears are about.


Note: I have a vivid memory of being small–but still the big sister–back when the line between what was, and what could be, was drawn in chalk. Something breathed under the bed, and the dark, dark staircase was where I told Claudia scary stories that scared me too, although I never admitted it.

Like the poem three entries back, this is a response poem. “Bears” is my homage to Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”  

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