Stationary Hike by Agnes Marton

You always leave me at a random spot

far beyond the snowmobile hub,

 

without map, compass, rifle, food,

your goodbye-hug slipping east.

 

You tear out as if after a bite,

I start walking in the tame slush.

 

Wish I could talk to a reindeer dwarf

grazing along gravel and stones

 

to avoid thought holes and pitchfork combs

yet I’m alone, my headlamp plays the moon.

 

Stewed perception of what’s real,

what’s going by the patterned bruise.

 

Some bet I should find a safe grave

but I’m too soft to go through, too alive.

 

At the ridge the shape of a diaper pin

I take off my insulated gear,

 

my icebreaker merino wool,

and lie on my back, my trunk

 

flat on moss. The frost is calm,

almost like a beak, the Out fits the In.

 

No one follows me in this stationary hike.

I keep stretching, wherever I look

 

I see slopes of my naked skin,

dizzy and cold for my fingers to sweep.

 

Then I’m stuck in pancake ice,

a rock lifting on my chest like baby crave.

 

I admit I’m lost. That’s what you need,

without losing it’s difficult to find.

 

Without breath how could I choke,

how could I ask where you were

 

while away. Closer and closer,

snow to dress. I’m melting,

 

already longing back to freeze.

 

 

 

Agnes Marton is a poet, writer, editor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Recent publications include 'Estuary: A Confluence of Art and Poetry' (winning the Saboteur Award) and her poetry collections ‘Captain Fly’s Bucket List’ and ‘The Beast Turns Me Into a Tantrumbeast.’ She participated in an expedition to Svalbard.

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