In Defense of Goldie Locks

By Jeanne Wagner

The social worker says She’s not quite a sociopath, though she does have a problem with boundaries. I say she’s only a child, young enough to play house, to act out the roles of mother, daddy, baby bear. The police say consumption of the porridge is theft, and what she did to the smallest chair is nothing less than vandalism. But on her side, I’d say she felt the blunt stab of its skeletal rungs pressing against her back, the shallow indentation of a seat too confining. Perhaps she was rebelling against temptations endemic to the sedentary life, perhaps she was resolving her Oedipal issues with the testing of each bed in its turn. It seems the bear-parents slept separately, but that isn’t relevant here (or is it?), because the bed-clothes — how tellingly anthropomorphic that sounds — wrap us indifferently, the way beds always do, holding us on their firm, buttoned-down mattresses, those platforms for the sacred privacy of the body, allowing us sanctuary, if only in dreams. Sleep exonerates us, as the bears well know, because in their own dreams they pillage the sweet interior of the hives, which are no less than homes, gouging the soft wax with their paws, honey glutted in the coarse fur of their forearms, which they can’t stop licking. But I digress, because as one bear pointed out on Fox News (which they generally abhor) the whole incident can be seen as a metaphor for the rampant destruction of the bear habitat. Another mentioned, and I think this is crucial, how their own birth and infancy, that period of innocence we so prize, takes place in hibernation. Mothers asleep, cubs curled up and suckling in the Eden of their cave-dark. Apart from this, all life can be seen as one great cycle of breaking and entering.


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About Jeanne Wagner

Winner of the 2013 Sow’s Ear Prize and the 2015 Arts & Letters Award judged by Stephen Dunn, her poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry, Alaska Quarterly Review, Shenandoah and American Life in Poetry. She is the author of three chapbooks and two full-length collections, The Zen Piano Mover, winner of the Steven’s Manuscript Prize and In the Body of Our Lives, published by Sixteen Rivers Press. She is on the editorial board of California Quarterly.

One Comment

  1. Marissa
    Posted January 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t stop laughing! I loved the opening comedy and personification of bears.

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