Ow Yeong Wai Kit, Singapore
After Kay Ryan; for Inuka the polar bear (1990-2018)
Who wouldn’t be a polar bear in the tropics?
A solitary last emperor, an Arctic ambassador
paddling a marionette dance in his own lagoon,
never to be laid adrift on dwindling ice floes
or having to forage for food scraps ebbing soon.
His shaggy pelt, his algae-ridden fleece glows
amidst rations of apples and fish. He lumbers,
the scraggly hulk heaving to bear his own weight.
Resting his neck on his hairy paws, he slumbers
in an air-conditioned palace, his jowls sagging
on artificial permafrost. He knows the tundra
is an inconceivable dream. He has no need to hunt
for an ursine paramour. Trudging across icebergs
of indifference, he licks his fur. Silently, he stalks
nothing more than his own shadow.
Ow Yeong Wai Kit has edited poetry anthologies such as From Walden to Woodlands (2015) and Love at the Gallery (2017). His writings can be found in the Interfaith Observer, Straits Times, TODAY, QLRS, and elsewhere. Currently a teacher and writer, he holds an M.A. in English Literature from University College London.