Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Svalbard

I stare at Svalbard on the wall map:
wind-whipped polar seas and all
the world’s seeds stored for years
against armageddon and ambition.

Ten thousand stalks of corn in rows.

I watch a woman lonely stare
across thickening seas, the stars
out most days, bright and forgettable
twinkling motes of TV static
against the day going black.

Crushed beneath deep winter’s snows.

How many months till the whalers’ shack
falls silent? She shivers, kicks
at the tracks in pebbled stone,
pulls the emergency parka tight
against her wasting frame.

The fever comes and goes.

10 Comments

  1. oh, this one stopped me in my tracks. (the reading-in-a-reader-sort of tracks…) falling right into the map. wonderful work, james.

  2. this is a marvelous piece

  3. I particularly like the way you’ve used the one line stanzas in this. Really add to the effect. Excellent poem.

    • Thanks, CGP. I’m really glad to hear that worked for you. I’ve been tinkering with this since November and those one-line bits were the last thing I did and that’s when it felt done.

  4. Wow, James… this really packs a punch. I really like:

    She shivers, kicks
    at the tracks in pebbled stone,
    pulls the emergency parka tight
    against her wasting frame

  5. Yes, as CGP notes, form and content combining to excellent effect here. Vivid and unsettling.

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