PoetrySpring 2018

“ultrasound” and Other Poems – Anna Cathenka



expectant mother taps

bear iambs against plexiglass

three beats from, say,

seal-land to mating-sound

a sense of place

lost in translation

a mental map

cauterized to fit

the space between

four sides

a captive version

of playing beethoven

In Spring we go to

and again

In Spring we go to

and then


tracing the trail in circles round the cage

each footprint

is a day, each gap

the time it takes to catch a seal, say


or, whatever bears say

expecting freedom



β ursus majoris, the loins of the bear


the thigh is bent

up by the base

of the tail


the bear’s legs

are askew/her neck



across the sky


there is green

light rippling





in the dark

she pushes  out

the little bear


a yellow-white


traced from her loins


the Grizzly Bear has a wife

we don’t talk of in the woods
while we drink homebrew and
I don’t feel how close his
thick body is to mine by the
campfire we have built to sit
by while we tell stories and
mash cranberries we have
picked from the tundra into
our drinks that we drink from
steel cups as the sun sets on
the arctic summer hailing the
return of the darkness that we
don’t talk of in the forest
while we get drunk and he
makes paw prints by the
shore of the mackenzie river
that runs right into the arctic
ocean until the winter when it
freezes over and I’ll wear
seven pairs of trousers for
cleaning the kennels and try
not to think about the Grizzly
Bear’s curved chest rising
slowly while he sleeps like it
doesn’t rise right now while
we watch a beaver slog
across the river and talk of
anything except how his
breathing gets faster as we
get closer for a little warmth
against the dying summer
while he bites hard down on
the hard cranberries we have
picked from the tundra



Author Bio: Anna Cathenka is the 2017/18, Ink, Sweat & Tears scholar for the MA Poetry at UEA in Norwich, UK. Her first pamphlet, Dead Man Walking, will be published this year with New Fire Tree Press. Her series Prayerbook for Tree was recently released by Smallminded Press. Anna’s writing has appeared in International Times, X-Peri, The Clearing and Partisan Hotel amongst others. She has performed her collaborative project Polar Bear Drag Kings with poet Sarah Cave at the experimental reading series Anathema at Bristol’s Arnolfini and as part of S J Fowler’s The Enemies Project. Anna can be found online @annacathenka

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