Today's poem is by Mary Quade

To Bear

The polar bear is threatened—
on a list of things you shouldn't
stuff into your suitcase
and carry across a border.
The polar bear is threatening
to melt, like tissue, into the sea.
You can't capture
with infrared film a well-fed bear, its
fire hid by fat and fur;
only hot breath appears,
bearless, an untranslated
warning. The polar bear
treads around the ice, sniffs for holes
where seals pop up for air, snaps
its jaws.There's a photo
of a man's head with scalp stripped off,
skull raw and spared.
A walrus is twice the size, but
this means nothing to me. What do trees
missed by lightning know? I know
only the bear in the small zoo,
chaos or cosmos of concrete,
always the pole of day
opposite the pole of night.
A window opens to the pool,
where the bear turns metronomical laps,
paw pushing off near my face,
again and again the thud on glass,
each hair hollow and clear,
though everyone sees
a bear white as a towel
thrown in.

Copyright © 2011 Mary Quade All rights reserved
from Hayden’s Ferry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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