Rose Collins

Cape Evans Hut, Winter 1911

They scour rank bodies with snow —
use bone-handled brushes, thick
with grime, to restore their teeth to
polar white.
Apprehensive in high-backed chairs
they perch and shear each other’s heads
hull bare.
Pipe tobacco threads tight
the lofty necks of their pullovers.
On the Captain’s birthday
they eat seal soup, tinned asparagus —
red currant jelly enamels mutton like
rime ice.
Each man in his way is a treasure.
They are tired, nauseous, grateful
as they shave on Sundays;
their soap is Army & Navy catalogue issue.
They sleep in hammered bunks —
close as children — spines
and necks contort and joints
mortise and tenon neatly.
Outside, the wind a white fury,
the air is full of drift.

More :
Hinemoana Baker | Sarah Jane Barnett | Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle | Jennifer Compton | Lynley Edmeades | Joan Fleming | Michael Hall | Anna Jackson | Brent Kininmont | Kirsten Le Harivel | MA Workshop 2003 | Bill Manhire | Sara Martin | Jo McNeice | Hannah Mettner | Kevin O'Donnell | Claire Orchard | Lee Posna | Mary Ruefle | Elizabeth Russell | Frances Samuel | Kerrin P. Sharpe | Marty Smith | Charmaine Thomson | Jessica Todd | Chris Tse | Catherine Vidler | Bryan Walpert | Sugar Magnolia Wilson