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Russian Scientists Bore Into Ancient Antarctic Lake


Susan T. Landry

(Dr. Luckin, director of the expedition, said, ‘For me, the discovery of this lake is comparable with the first flight into space.’ There have been much-disputed hints that life might still exist there. NYT 2/08/12)

We live in a pale globe, haloed by the light of underwater moons. Like the blood of a medusa, we are diaphanous; woven of silken threads, spun from microbial skeins, soft as smoke. The skin of our world glows overhead, a membrane holding in fluid and song. We have words; not to say out loud, just to look at. We press them into shapes or memories and release them. The word called blue can be sky or the shimmer of diatoms. Brown can be sand pebbles or a quiet heart. Like birds, blue and brown can soar and glide. They can spin like star motes or flatten, like feathers in a storm.

We dance. The space between us is sacred. The space around us is eternity. We never ask questions. We do not begin or end.

We are crying. There is too much noise, a dark thrum, like music that is wrong, like music with sharp edges.

We are afraid to look: the words break like black ice; splinters of red pierce the grey green sky. Our eyes hurt; we want to shut them, lock them tight as fossils. Our ears are curling in, like seashells. Words like drill or science or discovery pulse through the water like words for pain. We have nowhere else to go.

This poem originally appeared in the sixth issue of Little Star.

Susan T. Landry writes memoir, fiction, and poetry. She was managing editor of Lifeboat: A Journal of Memoir, and founder/editor of Run to the Roundhouse Nellie; she made a living as a medical copy editor in NYC and Boston. Currently, she freelances from her home in Maine.

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