portion of the artwork for Ivy Grimes' poem

The Bear and the Nightingale
Ivy Grimes

The nightingale, though small and amber
and not purple and not well-wrought,
was the hostess of the forest
and would make everything
more comfortable, like a house.

The bear said, “I like honey.”
“I know,” said the nightingale.
“I really like it,” said the bear.
The nightingale got the point.

While the nightingale was off finding hives,
the bear thought, why can’t things be more and
more comfortable, like a human house?
I deserve no less than what I can imagine.

The nightingale had to carry honey
in its mouth, and nightingales
don’t like the taste of honey,
and it was getting sick
and its feathers syrup-shelled,
and the bear said,
“Nightingale, everything
should taste like honey.”

So the nightingale plucked and cracked
hive after hive after hive onto
the ground, the trees, the rocks, the clouds, the caves,
the dirt roads, and the telephone wires.

When the bear ate the telephone wires,
our calls had to travel through his stomach.
When the calls came through, the bear would grow
feverish and call for the nightingale
to listen to the stories he now had to tell.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 52 | Fall/Winter 2018