At the Funeral

Maggie Olszewski

Brother and sister take polar bears.
Brother parks his between
two F-150s but sister’s won’t stay,
instead follows her to the front row
of fold-out seats and licks her wrists
when hungry, so she digs through her pockets
for bits of raw seal. After the ceremony, she feeds
brother’s bear too. Family members say nothing because
there aren’t any rules against bears.
Brother and sister take polar bears
for a walk, all the way to the Arctic and back.
Bundled to their chins, they watch their
bears ask other bears why
it’s so cold here. And other bears say
it could be colder. Sun a gravestone.
Ice the body being buried. Time
for the reception, sister finds hers scraping its claws
through layers of white to brown, scraping an H, an E,
Help, Heaven, Hello, and brother
can’t find his at all.
Sister takes hers into the funeral home and for a snack
it eats its whole plate, crunch of ceramics.
Mother says nothing because
their father is dead.
Mother says nothing but feeds the bear
his shoes, his wallet, a wedding invitation he left magnetised
to the refrigerator which now sits filled with fish. And sister hates the bear
and the way it smells
but falls asleep on a bench with her face in its fur, rubs its ears
now she’s out of seal,
does nothing to make it leave though she wonders
why it stays.