My husband’s granddaddy felled the bear upon the rangy earth of Wyoming—the grassy compass back of that American square, a spread-wide book of glory. I flirt with Granddaddy for the memory, the bearskin rug. I tap the bear’s teeth and feel my fingernails echo. I stare into its nothing glassy-black eyes. I give the bear a Scottish accent. I am listening to an audiobook read by a man with a Scottish accent; the cadence of his voice is fuzzy paper crumpling and crumpling and smoothing out again. I take the rug home and lose my clothes, crawl naked under the hairy heft of it. Imagine the Scottish accent saying I am a bear too. You are. A female bear is called a sow. A group of bears is called a sleuth. I wait—stilly as the dead bear’s heart—for my husband to come home from work. When he finds me, I growl. I grunt and howl like Tom Waits. He loves Tom Waits. My husband pets the stiff black hair on the bear’s head. This is making up. You have a devastating personality, Carrie. Absolutely crushing, he says to me, deepening his dimples. I rise like the moon and open my slick strawberry mouth.

Leesa Cross-Smith's debut short story collection is called Every Kiss a War (Mojave River Press, 2014). She and her husband run a literary magazine called WhiskeyPaper. Find more @