ISSUE 5 · FALL 2010




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Copyright © 2010

Amy DeBevoise





Antarctica

AMY DeBEVOISE



So clearly do I recall

that bright June fifty years from now

when I, grayed at the ends, with a forehead

creased as a folded and refolded map,

freshly blind to beauty firsthand,

with dreams and a husband long past,

(fled to Spain, perhaps)

decided to move to Antarctica.


There in that vast terra nullius

which belongs to none, I basked

in the glow of not belonging,

of no class rosters, support groups

or book clubs, guest lists

or subscriptions to Digest

and Times, no clocks or seasons—

for days and nights linger long and sweet

in Antarctica, and hours are wild

beasts untamed, born without a name.


High in the Ellsworth Mountains

is where I made my residence,

for from there I could best observe

the auroras ribboning across the sky,

though often in the summers I vacationed

along the salty shores of Lake Vanda

and ran an ice cream shop

called “Gratuitous Ice Creams,”

where my neighbors, the scientists

from different countries, would come

and have a cone or two for irony’s sake,

ask if I was cold, and I would say yes,

just enough.


Still, on St. John’s Eve I lit bonfires

like they do in Spain: one at Mount Vinson,

another by Onyx River—I reclined

amidst clusters of fur seals and Adélie penguins,

watched firelight reflect rainbowlike

upon the floes, browned a few marshmallows

and dreamed

on how the reckless Spanish youth

fling themselves over the flames, scream

mójame, mójame,

until someone soaks them to their very skin.