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The Chainsaw Bears

Erin Elizabeth Smith

The chainsaw bears hate their parents.
They are not the first – the violence

in birth, the grown thing they were
stripped and shaved of its limbs

until they are remade into a canvas
of splinters. This is childhood,

the steady gnaw of gasoline-
powered tools forming the body

into the likeness of beast,
the teeth lifted beneath a smile

that is not of their species.
Why would anyone make them

like this – the hulking that is not
rage or famine or lust. The claws

filed to soft nubs, and nothing
to do but stare into the doors

of open-air restaurants, hungering
not for the mustard-gilded fries

or shine of ice in a wet glass.
Wanting just to press their nose

into a warm teat, to be the cub
they were never carved into.

Erin Elizabeth Smith

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