Poem A Day/Polar Bear Highway

This poem was inspired by a documentary I watched yesterday about a man who survived a polar bear attack. He and the rest of his hiking group were unaware that where they had camped was a polar bear highway.

Polar Bear Highway

I can feel the weight of his walk.
It rumbles through my spine like
a volcano preparing to erupt.

I close my eyes so tight they
ache, and my head is filled
with white noise and pain.

I quietly pray to a God I didn’t
give a shit about until now.

I’m no longer warm in my
goose down sleeping back.
I’m coated in cold sweat.

He’s down on all fours.
He can smell me, he can taste
the fear I’m soaking in.

I ask God for a darker night.
I don’t want to see my death in detail.

His claws penetrate the fabric
walls, slashing them open like a
teenager ravaging presents
with a pocket knife.

I didn’t want to ever get this close.

We are eye to eye when he opens
his mouth. His gums are black,
teeth yellow as creamed corn.

He lifts me from my sleeping bag
as easily as a mother scoops up
her newborn.

His teeth clamp over my head.
I’m dragged across grass, across shale.

His teeth will soon meet the warm
softness of my brain, and it will all be over.

I will die just 530 miles from the Arctic Circle.

From my limited viewpoint, I can see
snatches of new green growth where
there ought to be thick ice and dense snow.

Flares and gun shots fill the sky like
the stars have declared war with the moon.

I’m released unwillingly,my entire body
crunches and cracks on connection
with stones tumbled smooth in the fjord.

The polar bear moves away still hungry.

My head is sticky, wet and fragile,
like the day I first met the world.


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