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by Stephen Meads


There is a baby seal in my chest.

I know this because as a younger pup
I was clubbed to death.

My friends, all convinced
they could help protect my innocence

while simultaneously introducting me
to the world of bright light loudness
and endless floes of breaking ice.

I’m pretty sure there is a polar bear
in my chest too. Looks like
the cool Coke drinking type,

advertising my best public lie: I’m okay.

When any amount of research will show
the dire reality as I lose myself between
the ever diminishing safety of me,

swimming ever longer distances
to satisfy hunger or warmth or want,

failing to discern the dangers
between survival and self care.

Oh yeah, I should add adult me
has discovered a walrus in there.

I found it late one night in the gutteral
bellows snotting up my mustache.

Blubbering my way through conversation
after conversation as though I could explain
the changing climate in a cold detached way

instead of thing that it is:
a world that has no place for the ugly
wastelands of me.

A culture to absorb with the hunt
and need to cosume. A beast
that wants only the ivory
and not the scarred husk that carried it.

Every hunter just wants comfort
after all, a full belly, a safe home
a soft skin.


Stephen Meads is a writer and career retailer currently based out of Portland, Or. He likes socks and milkshakes, but not sock milkshakes as that would be wrong.