by Holly Day
If you were to set me free, I would leave with only
a rolled-up animal skin tent strapped to my back
a pocketful of dried berries and reindeer meat
a chunk of ice in a bucket to later melt into water.
I would give you one backwards last glance,
one last chance to stop me
before disappearing into a landscape of glaciers and polar bears
a sky filled with so many stars.
It would only take moments for my retreating figure
to be swallowed up in an expanse of white snow, only moments
for the wind to erase my footprints, the twin snaky signatures left by my sled.
Eventually, you’ll discover that all of your letters
have been forwarded to a research station abandoned by Russians
years before, everything you forgot to say in person
has been shredded into bedding by arctic foxes and penguins
chewed into mulch by inquisitive polar bears.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), The Yellow Dot of a Daisy (Alien Buddha Press), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), and Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing).