An old, recently forgotten story

The bear retreats, licks his unmortal wounds
Sleeps fitfully, sulking, dreaming
If only this had been that
A bit more or less of one thing or another

The fight would have gone another way
Claws would have sunk deep into
Another hide, teeth into
Another neck, just so

The small crack of the cervical vertebrae
Unhealable, would have ended
All doubt and misconception
Made dreams of winter sweeter

Spring comes, and a darker healing
A hesitant thrust, a feint
The bear looks over his shoulder
No one there, a few sheep

He scratches old scars
All the doubt spills out
The fuming pustule opens
It was just a lack of will, after all, he thinks

Out from the cave
Comes lumbering death

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