• Madronna Holden

Polar Bears Dance their Sestina One Last Time

This ice belongs to the bears

and their moon-white

land, their prints gathered

into circles on the snow

as they slow-dance to the stars

in the Arctic sky.

The guardian-keepers’ sky

turning the crystal breath of the bears

into pictographs of stars

reflected on paths white

with creation’s snow

and luminescence gathered

as angels, gathered

to descend the stairs of the sky

on their wings of snow,

their feathers soft as the fur of bears:

harmonizing every white

thing with the singing stars--

But now with the praying stars --

for melting seas have gathered,

dark water interrupting the white.

as rain pours mercilessly from the sky,

the stars begin to swim and breathless bears

turn their heads toward the retreating snow--

toward the memory of snow,

its flakes singular and numerous as stars --

shaping arms of ice once gathered

to hold the bodies of the bears

rambling easily under the open sky

in their homeland white

as the roof of the world once was, white

as wind married to snow

under the beneficent sky

and its graceful stars--

illuming ice bright as bells gathered

into the music of life for the bears --

bears now in danger of becoming white

noise gathered on the absent snow:

stars rumored by the sky.