A Short History of Polar Exploration
The snowlines, moving in, and light failing fast
as aurora borealis throbs there like a walrus heart,
all the land so wide, so all around; so vast as to
haunt. Mythology, the oil flares far away. Lightning
down the pipeline, a shiver down the spine of Alaska.
The Arctic poppy, ambergris, a narwhal tusk, and all
the massive muskoxen delineate the one soft curve
when moving. Further out the pack ice is a camel caravan.
A snooker table built from blocks of ice (we do not
want the men to go insane, have hooked up mirrors
at the cabin doors, to catch what little sun there is,
this for the worst of the scurvies.) At night my dreams
are green, blue, gold: hues I cannot see out there. The bear
is white, the land is too. Nothing to name into existence.
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