Damian Ward Hey

Bears at the Dump

On Summer nights,
Dad would take us all to the landfill
to watch the bears pick through the garbage.
We’d throw our multi-colored folding lawn chairs
into the back of the paneled station wagon.
Mom would cook up a great big batch of fried chicken,
and when we were done, we’d chuck the bones over the cliff,
so the bears could get at them.

There were five of them and five of us.
We called the two biggest Mom and Dad.
The three offspring were Christopher, Amanda, and Little Eddie.
Look at Christopher! my sister said. He’s taking a dump on an inner tube!
My brother was beside himself with laughter.
Hey Eddie, I said, pointing. You got your nose up Amanda’s butt!
That’s not my butt, choked Amanda.
That’s Dad’s butt!

Dad Bear gave Little Eddie Bear a swat
and looked around for Mom Bear. He found her
lying on a filthy mattress beyond a swing set.
We watched as they began to fight.
They growled, they smacked each other in the face,
and then they just kinda started rolling around on top of one another —
off the mattress, onto the ground, and behind a dumpster.
Where’d Mom and Dad go? asked Little Eddie Boy.

Well Eddie, I began, when a Mommy and Daddy Bear love each other —
Eddie stood up. His lip trembled.
Where did OUR mom and dad go?
We looked around for a bit until we found them back at the car.
Dad got out and helped us load the chairs back in.
Are you all done watching the bears? he asked.
Mom’s hand went to her face.
It’s getting creepy out, Amanda said. I wanna go home.


Damian Ward Hey’s poems have appeared in many journals, most recently The RavensPerch, e·ratio, and Neologism, and Trouvaille Review.  His work has also been published in several anthologies, among them Birth – Lifespan Vol. 1. (Pure Slush); Poets with Masks On (Melanie Simms, ed.); and easing the edges: a collection of everyday miracles (d. ellis phelps, ed.).  Hey is the founding editor of Stone Poetry Journal. Stonepoetryjournal.com