"Brakes" by Heather Bell
 

He is underneath my car in the garage,

fixing my brakes. He says, "can you hand

me that wrench?" and I know then that 

I will never love anyone again. He is 

 

grunting like he's skinning a fox

or bear. It is September and I will never 

 

love anyone again. I will not cry about it.

 

My heart has a face and it is covered

in wounds so love has become too

dangerous. It is September, I count twelve

weird singing orioles in the tree. He barks,

 

"I need the hammer, woman!" and I idly 

wonder what it is like to be loved,

the way the water at the lake loves 

driftwood. The way the waves place it 

 

on the shore but then returns to softly

take it home. I no longer want to run away,

 

even, because all homes become 

violent eventually. I turn my back 

to the garage and whisper, "I will never

 

love anyone again" and I let there

be a wail underneath the small words.

It is okay, here is your wrench, hammer,

battered bits of sheetrock saved in my 

nightstand, from when you hit the wall

when you meant to hit me. Because 

 

there is no one in this world willing

to love me, it is September, time blows

by like an ambulance siren. He says,

"bitch give me the wrench again!" Ok,

I reply calmly even though my life is 

 

geese migrating. I will never love anyone 

again, I am too small and sad and tired.

I sit on the gravel driveway, quietly 

listening for what he needs next.

"Bear" by Heather Bell

 

You know, you are dangerous to 

most men, he said.

Because you are more interested 

in collecting

them like antique pots

than for love.

 

I laughed and I guess laughter is agreement or 

or a bear that suddenly appears in your bathroom

while you are hiding from 

other humans.

 

I am not really like that, I replied

nervous

because of the bear

who was obvious

and too large to fit

in the bathtub

where it wanted to go

to be washed by me

 

You are really like that though,

he said, eyeing the bear. You are.