Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Sailing to Antarctica

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Sailing to Antarctica

Article excerpt

The problem is the voices

I can't get out of my head. On the bridge, the captain's playing

"Break On Through"; he's been

Playing "Stormy Weather." Go ahead, Google World's

Roughest Crossing. Google

Shipwreck, and Lost at Sea. Meanwhile, the ship

Is tearing itself

Apart beam by steel beam; the ship is gnawing its own liver

And the sea is eating

Its heart out and wants me to sashay right on by and take

A look. Lean over

The rail, little one, lean a little farther. The problem is the voices. Sea,

Sea, you're all foam

Vanishing, cry of shearwater and albatross wing knitting

You to sky; you are height

And depth and open mouth, and I am barely a morsel. Sea, I can't get out

Of my head, or is it you're

What I can't get my poor head around, what I don't know how to measure

A twenty-foot sea, a thirty-foot sea. Not a falling so much as a

Career, a sinking

So much as a gulp. Measure from where the surface would be

If I could find it, if

The idea of surface hadn't become a moving target I plummet

Past into the trough and know

No better on the ride back up into yippee, though on the wave's crest

Three days out

I swear I can see South America. This is the best

Thing ever, clinging

To the rail watching another wave crash all the way over the bow, over

The captain high

In his bridge, the captain who will carry us through with his instruments

And playlist and steel-hulled

Gut, though he says everyone has a threshold, even him. …

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