Incidental Hallucinations while Trekking across Antarctica

  - for Colin O’ Brady

 

There’s an organ grinder racing

across the snowpack propelled by spider

monkeys wearing tiny Eskimo hats

and mukluks made of banana peel.

 

A team of miners with their sled

of canary feathers is spelunking

under the flows, convinced

a short cut lay among the trilobites,

glacial crush and amber.

 

There is a pallid vampire seduced

by the long night’s blush. His mink

collared cape askew, his coffin of blue

ice lurching across a crevasse, seal

blood staining the snowfall.

 

I lead the pack. My sled whittled

from shadow and wine. My dogs

crooning in canine Esperanto, lunging

after the caribou disappearing

in the falling drift.

 

Ahead, the finish line merges

into a mirage of frost, rising

as if it was a cathedral of rime

whose pope is the last polar

bear, smiling. Lips

 

like razors, teeth like oil rigs

piercing the permafrost. Impatient

for dinner, he wishes me god’s speed

and tender cheeks.

 

 Published in DEEP WILD