Please Don’t Feed the Spirit Animals

Hannah Dow


Please Don’t Feed the Spirit Animals

I saw a pair of mechanical polar bears

getting it on at the Vienna Prater. It was

unexpected—his bucking her from behind

while I slid by unobserved in a no-rail

cart. Knees to my chin, bar low and tight

across my lap, I dropped the fake

camera I’d been instructed to use.

They were polar bears in everything

but spirit, I decided—or else all spirit,

no polar bear. I couldn’t know. Who

signed them up for this? Were these

exhibitionists in another life, banished

to a special circle of pseudo-Antarctic hell?

Or was this a celibate’s reward? Sex in heaven,

perpetual love-making, no threat of offspring.

A giant crab looked on from across the way.

And how was he supposed to feel,

lit up only by his own florescence?


Hannah Dow is a PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers, where she is an Associate Editor for Mississippi Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Harpur Palate, American Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review, among others. She also received an honorable mention in the 2015 Intro Journals Project.