Berenstein Bears
Amy Butcher

I am nearly twenty-five and here is the only thing I know: the Berenstein Bears have it all figured out.
Mama Baba in her blue dress, polka-dotted, her fur done up in a cap, her paws finely sharpened—she stirs a bowl of sticky honey, leans out the window of her hollow trunk home, calls the children in for supper.

Where has the daylight gone? No one ever knows.

But Sister and Brother Bear clamber inside, wash their faces and paws, sit at the table where they spoon peas onto plates.

"Now, now," Mama says. "Not so fast now. There's time."

Father Bear, too, is hungry, but first removes his yellow shirt, replaces it with a clean one. He tears a roll in half and smoothes honey with his knife.

"How was your day?" he asks, and the children, in turn, answer.

They are not human but bear, but still they know enough to know to pass the gravy.

In my world, I walk around Staples with a fever.

In theirs, the night is just beginning, and as if in collaboration, the stars light up, polka-dotting their evening.

Amy Butcher is a student in the Non-Fiction Writing Program at the U. of Iowa. She has work in or coming from Brevity, Indiana Review, Colorado Review and others.

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