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A Witty Sexy Poem About an Iceberg

Heather Spears

           “He wants witty sexy poems about icebergs

             to read to his cruise passengers now and then.”


But it has no sex and no wit. It tips

over, sometimes, weightily, or rights itself. The surface of the sea

meanwhile engages our visual cells, the ones

devoted to the horizontal, where they meet with delight

that outrageous barrier, that flagged vertical whose downward slice

is deep as a knife into cake. Wedding cake will do,

there’s the sex bit, tier over tier and mostly

hid from us, out on the deck and peering. The water’s strewn

with whites opaque as rags or as the sky. Between these a polish, a

dark translucence.

What parts of this scape can you penetrate, what can you see?

Whites beyond whites, green that has never been near grass, the green

of a beetle or a feather, maybe, in some remote location, the green of

phosphor and vermillion,

or some fake colour - a chemical

slid into candy that makes the teeth seethe.

Or some electric game, or the irid

of a reptile, or the very heart

of heat at the flame’s exhalation,

oxygens doing something weird and barely planetary.


From Atlas No 2 (2007)