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21st Century Poetry when the bears came out of the arctic

by Kat Lyons

they walked into the factories. we gave them jobs
we hated. they worked
in the freezers, the graveyard shifts.
they were cost-effective.
they didn’t need protective clothing.
they weren’t interested in pensions.

they were granite in their strangeness. they smelt
of blood and salt and sky, when we passed on the street
we avoided their eyes. they kept to the bear lane
grew stained and pitted, wore down.
they took out their teeth.

now they slope in alleys, cadge a fag, suck on chips.
they’ve shrunk to fit. waning moons, fading towards
eclipse. watch them
shuffle under streetlights, hunch in cafeterias.
cry over the ice-cubes in a coke.           
                                 
Kat Lyons is a queer Bristol-based writer and performer, all platforms are @Katlyonsartist. Their work is grounded in everyday politics and storytelling. Their debut poetry collection is Love Beneath the Nails (Verve Poetry Press, 2022).

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