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Taking Out the Trash
Dianna MacKinnon Henning

The bear has turned the trash can on its head,
plastic bags torn open, strewn across the yard,
looking like gutted ravens; orange peels,
tea bags and coffee grounds ignored.

Should I place a menu, post it for the bear’s
next visit, put out napkins and paper plates,
and what about a table cloth so the bear
is then accommodated by the niceties of polite

dining? I imagine him telling his friends that our
house is the best hit, always plenty to maul over,
and he invites them to dine after his nightly rounds.
I’ve tried to catch him in his act of busting open

the trash’s lid and have waited late into the dark,
hoping to see this king of thrifty enterprise,
yet I’ve not caught a single sight of him.
There’s something thick about the boundless

night that makes me hesitate. It’s as though
the pliable world is less so in darkness—so I
fidget, horrified to break a path through air,
place one foot upon the porch—the burning eyes
of bear turning me coward at my front door.

© by Dianna MacKinnon Henning.
Used with the author’s permission.


Dianna MacKinnon Henning holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Author of The Broken Bone Tongue (Black Buzzard Press, 2009), her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals. Dianna lives in Janesville, California; learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
Sounds like waiting for Santa, when you've been bad.
Posted 10/06/2013 07:06 AM
Delightful imagery. I love Dianna's poetry!
Posted 10/05/2013 07:42 AM
Dianna, you always bring a smile with your imagery!
Posted 10/04/2013 10:37 PM
I could substitute raccoons for bears in this poem. Not as scary, yet somehow able to open the heavy metal dumpster tops, which are a challenge for ME
Posted 10/04/2013 11:30 AM
wendy morton:
The king of thrify enterprise: your descriptions are delicious.
Posted 10/04/2013 10:03 AM
A common problem with bears written up into this delightful poem! Loved it.
Posted 10/04/2013 08:49 AM

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