The Path of Least Resistance

by Christine Adams Beckett

The man who distributed lift passes
For our alpine hike also comped
Us a red bear bell,
More Christmas tree ornament:
Something to usher in a
Set of Angels’ wings, rather
Than deterrent via pleasant tinkle for
A frothing, underfed
Woodland creature.

I took inventory of
My natural defense system,
Considered how primed my body
Was for response, and took stock
Of my accoutrements: running shoes?
Weaponry?  If only it were as easy
As Zuzu’s little bell when
That clammy Heap of Uriah
Pinned me to his couch;
I bloodied his lip instead. Or,
When those drunk teenagers
In a gritty park behind the A&P
Called me names I didn’t
Understand?  Ran like it was
The last leg, and carried a big baton.

Its a little trickier when the bear
Wears the face of a loved one.
Fight for your life?  Or run for it?
A more Swiftian response
Might do:
Fashion repellant everyday wear,
Strung together with pungent cloves:
A necklace.

But the hike is vastly more engrossing
With wildlife, and views.