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On South Georgia Island

Adrift in the tepid sunlight,

firebirds spark over tundra.

Looking down on Grytviken

from a modest height I wonder

how anyone could thrive amid

so much rust-colored wreckage.

The whaling station’s defunct,

church rarely used, museum

replete with placards and sighs.

From here I can see the cruise ship

with its vast expenses humming

to itself, safely at anchor.

Sweating in red parkas, fellow

voyagers roam the village.

No one lives here in winter,

the chatter of penguins forbidding,

the grave of Shackleton restless

with his vast unfinished business.

I creep down the bluff to examine

the industrial ruins and post

a postcard from the museum,

open only in summer months

when the sun refuses to set

and the penguins keep to themselves.

The firebirds glisten overhead.

They mock the many shipwrecks,

the whale oil refinery, the tanks

so empty that voices of the dead

echo in them. I’d like to hide

and let the cruise ship diesel off

without me. But the captain

wouldn’t leave anyone behind,

and would find and drag me back

to return to noisy places

still prominent on the map

where any fool can find them.

Abstract Architecture

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

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