The jet stream howled hot a wavy intemperate gale over the ice cap of the north
The white bears toey grip on small floes ridiculous, tenuous, a snapchap event
They plunge in swim, tire weighed down by sodden fur not buoyed up by skinny ribs
Some make it to a hard and sullen lip of land with a sigh
Some go down then roll diurnally, their eyes milky fixed to the North Star.
Some bears held up placards at the zoo, milled about in ponderous circles
Grunting and coughing in the noxious fumes of perfumed gazers
One sat back huffing, with a beer in his paw, gruffly asked a child for his hat
The days grew hotter and though they complained and asked for fans
The zookeepers looked to their own navels scratched and checked for fleas.
Bears in Alaska refused to fish, made hammocks out of hunter’s skins and scalps
Lay under chemtrailed mackerel bellied skies
Smoked dope drank hootch, mauled their wives and cubs then cried
One had a whiteout and vomited dog food under a dying pine
Then stole a pie from the kitchen of a woman with a shaking gun.
Sloth bears stopped to hum but sang loud ragas to their startled fluff eared mums
Teats unaccustomed to such Carnatic scales shriveled while cubs suckled fussed and crooned
Parents desperate, wrung paws grunting bass notes in empathetic harmony
While a wily fakir claimed it all a gift from Krishna for sitting forty years on his fingernails
Meditating on his winking clinking offering bowl.
St Remedius in his cave in Val di Non levitates and prays
Giving up the world to gain a kingdom of shifting particles and motes
His big companion goes through the saints clothes for food, finding fleas
Puts them in his own fur, an act of penitence for killing the saint’s horse
Before, in the usual bloody order of natural things.
Gogs tease bears away from hives with fat salmon caught in teeming streams
And retire to caves, stung and drunk on honey stolen from the bees
Fires keep the bears away at night, arrows by day
still these slavering roaring beasts sway and tower over men
who have yet to split the atom in a world where beast and hunter pray.
Catherine Forsayeth Nov 30 2016