Inner Life

By Srikanth Reddy Srikanth Reddy
The bear stopped dancing & unscrewed his head.
He held it upside-down in the dusk. She reached
into her pouch for a copper piece, but instead
pulled out the silvery piece she’d been saving

for some special occasion. A limited issue,
stamped on one side with a profile of the prince;
on the other side a water wheel did not spin.
It glowed in her hand. Her hand grew heavy with it,

& the salts, & the bittersome oils of her hand.
Was this the occasion? The others were there
with their fists in their pouches & the weary bear
held out his head as if it were an offering

or an object lesson. It was neither. It was ripped,
with russet handfuls of animals’ hair pasted on
& a secret eye slit recessed in its open maw.
The wild old man in the bear suit parted his lips

& out came a snatch of extinct birdsong.
The musicians clapped. He’d learned it as a boy
growing up in the mist-proud interior
where he would call & call until the violet males

in a frenzy swooped into his breathtaking nets.


Srikanth Reddy, "Inner Life" from Facts for Visitors. Copyright © 2004 by the Regents of the University of California.  Reprinted by permission of The University of California Press.

Source: Facts for Visitors (University of California Press, 2004)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Srikanth Reddy

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Nature, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Class, Cities & Urban Life

 Srikanth  Reddy

Biography

Srikanth Reddy grew up in Chicago. He earned an AB from Harvard College, an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in English literature from Harvard University. He is the author of the collection of poems Facts for Visitors (2004).
 
Reddy employs a variety of forms, including syllabics, terza rima, and the prose poem; his poems are collagelike in their variety and inclusiveness. Facts for Visitors was . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Nature, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Class, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.