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166th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Ursus maritimus (Sea Bear)

by Miles T. Ranter

You hunger for the fat-rich hide
of seal. You live to eat, to fight,
to mount, to mate. Across the wide

expanse of permafrosted white,
you trail her tracks, and can recall
that time you tasted blood and fright,

the pain of feral fangs, the brawl
with fifteen-hundred mauling pounds.
That day you were the one to fall.

And yet your prowess on these grounds
has only strengthened through the years
of earning scars and broken crowns.

You dip your head, pull back your ears,
throw wide your jaws, and hurl the roar
that all the Arctic Circle fears!

On the frozen ocean of lust and gore,
all rivals trounced, you approach the prize.
Nine feet of growling carnivore

aroused by that which liquifies
and fractures April’s crystal cape,
with triumph glowing in your eyes

you rise, then boldly nip her nape
and, balanced on the glassy floe,
ease a thirst none can escape.

Two cubs are born. They’ll suckle, grow
and swim and swim and swim a lot,
then face their most ferocious foe —

not bear, nor spear, nor rifle shot
but a want of ice, a home too hot.

See all the entrants to 166th Weekly Poetry Contest