Aphelion Issue 296, Volume 28
July 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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The Final Meal

by Royal Rhodes

Bears are reported to be raiding graveyards in Russia.
— New York Times

Horrors! Bears have started eating flesh
of corpses pried from coffins, like a tin
of tuna, Russian wild-life spotters, fresh
with news, report. The bears were starved and thin;
a scorching summer near the Arctic led
these scavengers of mushrooms, berries, frogs,
to maul and masticate the live and dead
by kneeling near some graves in furry togs.
While fish and ants in autumn filled that bill,
now poachers cull the bears for teeth and claws.
Our cemeteries proved a 'fridge we fill
with easy food of kin and stiff in-laws.
I'm cold. So hug me! I'm so scared to death.
But my, what big teeth you have, and foetid breath!

© 2024 Royal Rhodes

Author PhotoRoyal Rhodes is a retired educator who lives in a small, rural village, surrounded by farms and forests. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals. He has been drawn in his writing to the often dark aspects of nature, "red in tooth and claw."

Find more by Royal Rhodes in the Author Index.