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–Bransfield Strait, Antarctica

 

We know you are below us

concentrating krill: teal

feeding-bubbles twitching

to the surface, perforating chads

in the Antarctic Ocean’s

untidy sheet. Do you mistake

the dark ovals of our Zodiaks above you,

the outboards’ hummings, and the props’

disturbances for glaciers calving

or a waddle of gentoos porpoising

like pistons in the ocean’s machinations?

 

And how absurd we must look

to your great eye now upon us

when you breech, our camera lenses

protruding like curious snouts,

our torsos small-bore targets—

maroon parkas ringed with orange life vests—

our stoplight-red research shack

just within your sight, the way it skins

the point’s receding knee of ice.

 

//

Adam Vines is an assistant professor of English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is Editor of Birmingham Poetry Review and Director of the English Honors Program. He has published poems in Poetry, Kenyon Review, and Southwest Review, among others. He is the author of Out of Speech (LSU Press, 2018) and The Coal Life (U of Arkansas P, 2012) and coauthor of Day Kink (Unicorn Press, 2018) and According to Discretion (Unicorn Press, 2015).