Posted in Antarctica

Credentials

The clothes are heavy
instructions explicit
ECW clothing must be worn on embarkation
ECW: Extreme Cold Weather.

Identification is presented
admission granted to departure hall
“ Place all baggage in front of the line.
Stand in line, behind the line
the tone says : you’re part of the military now.
“ Any contraband may be placed in the amnesty box”
I wonder : has marijuana ever last chanced the box?
“ Do not interact with the dog”
interact : military speak for pat.
Not guilty.

“Proceed to the bus”
an 800m drive to the tarmac
it is forbidden to walk.
Hurry up and wait
a hundred people are penned – literally.
Waist high wire barricades form quarantine.
newby’s find one another and huddle
old stagers mull together murmuring nonchalance.
A confident hand is thrust forward
“ Steven……….your first time?”
“yes.”
I ask the reflexive question
“my fourth.”
Conversation scrambles for loose change of trivia
it doesn’t matter
he has gone.
Mission accomplished.

For the story behind a story click Backstage

Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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