Da often walks along our street,
he’s careful though and tries to keep
away from where the hedges grow
because, he says, you never know
just what is hiding in behind
the pines at number sixty-nine.
He thinks he saw some footprints there.
In fact, my Da is scared of bears.
Or was until just lately when
he went to visit Irish friends
who live near Ennis Market where
he bought a stick for beating bears.
Not bed-time bears that share my light
that keeps the dark outside at night,
but staring bears with hairy feet
that prowl down Elimatta Street.
And so each day he wanders past
the place where hedges crowd the path.
He taps his way along the street
and hasn’t met a bear in weeks.
And never will, so he believes.
As long as lurking bears can see
the ash-plant stick he bought from where
his people lived in County Clare.