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The Bears

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About the poet

Lorraine Ramsey holds two master’s degrees: one in English and one in counseling psychology. She has tutored, taught, and counseled students and clients of all ages in San Joaquin County for more than 10 years. Her passion is helping others achieve their goals.

In her spare time she writes poems and short stories which are loosely based on her surroundings. This poem was written during the time she worked at Catholic Charities in downtown Stockton. It was created during her drive to work while she took frequent looks at the people who inhabited Wilson and El Eldorado Streets. Lorraine lives in Lodi with her husband, Wes, dog, Rekah, and cat, Maddie.

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014 6:00 am

The warm air brings them out of hibernation.

Ambling, limping, riding, carousing, hustling,

I see them out of the darkness.

Beer bellies, sunken bellies, pregnant bellies.

Stained shirts and tattered pants cover up layers of dirt,

while red-rimmed eyes squint into the light.

They sniff the air, reassuring themselves spring has come.

Searching for food in the dumpster, begging outside the 7-11,

they are hungry, having been holed up in hibernation.

I see them in the glaring light of spring.

Slurring. Screaming. Sweating. Swearing. Swinging.

How close can I get before they stand tall and roar?

How far away should I stand?



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