Elizabeth Bradfield

Roughnecks and Rakes One and All, the Poet Speaks to Her Subjects, Polar Explorers

I won’t write you that voice,
piggy, crass
forged by salt &
cold & isolation.
Filed to edge
by time-wrung,
absence-wrought rasping
or, if not those,
by what made you endure.
I know we’re
bad luck on boats,
women, worse
on ice, too humid
for this hoar.
And you hate my pen
tracking through
your stories. But
I write you,
and that’s what love you get,
meted out, doled like rum.
Through line and vowel, my
voice chooses
yours, forced
by yours.
I’d like to say
local deviations
make this
true enough
triangulation
for polar work,
that despite my distance
and the tendency of light
over ice toward mirage,
some shape comes through
that both of us
can recognize.


Elizabeth Bradfield