Before I met him, my boyfriend acquired a reputation of being a bear.
A literal bear.
Physically, it isn’t difficult to imagine, his stature is alpine and broad, a kodiak on its hind legs.
By my side, he must look a robust protector, able to take down any hunter that would cross our path.
But my love for him does not spring from a hypothetical proving of alpha,
or an expectation of him to provide me salmon from stream.
It is his bear hugs, tight and warmer than any fur,
the artful gifts he crafts me with the claws of his heart,
and his encouragement of me to growl as loud as I can.
He is a bear, not a predator.
Gail Bello is a former co-editor of the online literary magazine The River and placed third in the 2018 Plunkett Poetry Festival contest. She writes fiction, poetry and plays, her work has been published in The Sandy River Review, Ripple Feminist Zine,Water Soup, Collective Unrest,Turnpike Magazine, Bonnie's Crew, Sad Girl Review and Pussy Magic. She is thrilled and honored to be published in TIny Flames Press. Follow her on Twitter @AquajadeGail.