Bear sets up a spike camp
closer to the fire.
A high meadow where lupine still bloom,
A meander between Ponderosa pines,
stately elders with corrugated bark
fragrant like caramel.
Bear fells a pine, limbs it, saws board lengths,
lines them atop crossed timbers
tables at waist height
so jumpers don’t have to crouch to eat
after digging fireline for hours, nights, days
Bear carves seats with backs
from the trunks of downed trees,
places them in conversational groupings.
On the west side of the meadow,
he ropes together bark-covered limbs
to make shower stalls.
Rigs bladders of water above them,
sunshine and gravity do the rest.
On the south end he drags away
elbows of deadfall,
elk scat, and stray rock,
sleeping quarters on smooth ground.
Sets up a book exchange in an ammo box.
Free library in the woods.
At the center of spike camp,
he builds a bulletin board
where incident news gets posted.
Downwind, a good distance away,
Bear sets up an outdoor toilet
with its own graffiti board:
wood and carving tools.
Spike camp is better than home.