Australian Antarctic Territory
You’ve come all this way for the Southern Lights
but they’re on strike again. Then someone says
let’s go see the snow petrel,
the cute white dove that bathes in the snow
of the continent of peace,
and on the way you wonder
if you could belong like the petrel.
But it’s far to these rocks
and you learn what cold can mean,
so you ask yourself
if you really need to see Antarctica
or just to know that it’s down here somewhere.
Then this bird that’s guarding its chick
spits hot yellow stuff in your face.
It stinks of fish and won’t come off
and you’ll wear this colour and smell
like an oily tattoo;
now you can say you belong here.
Published in The Galway Review
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