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  You could have a big dipper   

Captive Breeding Programme by Martha Lane

Hollow, she stares through the glass. Ignoring her reflection, she breathes in black and white. Stark, the beast is an ark. A vessel. She’s a vessel too. She’s been told. Told by so many voices. Too many voices.

The bear is on the news daily, the cameras frozen. Lashless eyes unblinking. News presenters beg in a language it doesn’t understand. Urge it to reproduce. Produce something more than a cub. To model hope, security, a future from a clay that lives inside it. Pressure knits its fur. Pressure it never asked for. Pressure that’s innate.


The enclosure is furnished with fronds. Bamboo bars restricting. It isn’t the only one in a zoo. Her cage is ripe, built by expectation, by time and evolution. Not her fault, she didn’t ask for it. She’s penned in by bed slats.

Hollow, she stares through the glass, heartbeats in her ears.

A single rhythm, drumming.


Martha Lane (she/her) is a writer from the North East of England. She discovered flash last year while keeping her vulnerable self inside. When she isn't writing she is wrangling her young children who are hinderance and inspiration in equal measure. Tweets @poor_and_clean

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