Starving Polar Bear

Starving Polar Bear
Where phantom bears hunt vanished ice. Image by Andreas Weith - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Monday, February 17, 2020

What Haunts the End of the Anthropocene

There will be rats, of course,
rooting through palm fronds
by the shores of the Bering Sea.

Balmy air will soften the Arctic night
as glaciers of Greenland melt into sea
and tundra crumbles to methane and mud.

This is a world devoid of puffins
where phantom bears hunt vanished ice
and ghosts of narwhal haunt the coast.

The land is a banquet for buzzards and blowflies.
Abandoned cities are concrete reefs
where starfish sift through barnacled ruins.

Out past the algal-clouded lagoons,
past bleached coral coated with slime,
plastic islands choke the ocean.

Gaia swoons. Her fever peaks.
Her skin is cracked with asphalt scabs,
her veins convulsed with biocides.

Extinction sweeps the earth again
on the cutting edge of the Anthropocene.
Beyond the bottleneck, coming soon –

the Kingdom of Jellyfish,
the Realm of the Cockroach,
the Golden Age of Fungi.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Maggie's First Thanksgiving

Biggleswade, England
November 28, 2019

Here it’s just Thursday 
in the restored brick cottage 
out back of Shortmead House 
on the northern fringe of Biggleswade. 

After a week of grey and rain 
the pocked lane is laced with puddles 
down past the football pitch. I slip 
into six layers and trudge into town 

to stock up on sweet potatoes. I buy 
a box of brown sugar, a vial of vanilla, 
pecans and coconut for the casserole 
your great-grandma used to make. 

Tonight our feast is beans over toast,
jacket potatoes sprinkled with cheddar, 
chased with an ale and a savouring 
of sticky toffee pudding and cream.

Tradition can wait until Saturday 
when Heike comes up from London 
and your Mimi swings by to join momma 
and daddy, Gramma and Grandpa 

crowded around the kitchen table.
Late in the night you’ll nurse milk 
fortified with cornbread and casseroles, 
flavoured with pumpkin and pecan pies.  

Nothing says Thanksgiving like expats 
offered food on a late Fall night 
to share in the warmth of newborn life 
and family that spans two shores.

Thanks to a saint from south Georgia –
a Biggleswade Thanksgiving feast 
donated to the new parents 
by Georgia expat Sara Miller.

Shortmead Lane, Biggleswade, England