Apex Predator

–A poem by Matt Daly


Far away to the northwest, under winds

the color of ice, a mother polar

bear dreams of seals rising. She shelters her

young from dark skies over dark seas. Infants,


born pink and half-formed in the cold and dark,

suckle away, through her teats, seal blubber

she stored for them. Seals whose dream heads, mottled

like plover shells, she cracks between her teeth.


In her sleep, shadows of seals dart under

thinning ice, emerge to breathe the sun’s

bright spray. Her dreams portend her breaking through

the surface. Her paws churn the expanding


ocean. Her white bulk sinks under the waves

while hope, the vernal sensibility,

twitches its terrible secrets in her

sleep, stalks the horizon’s expanding warmth.

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