jen durbent: Writer, Comedian

On Stargazing from October Revolution Island

Header for Poem.

Only entropy comes easy.
—Anton Chekhov

In the penumbra of a dimming flashlight, a careful man
or woman can see the glacier slowly move toward camp.
Two weeks ago, that there boulder—just as big as I when fetal—
I could wrap my long arms around it; now it is devoured;
a dozen stratified layers of dirty ice like comets, will crush
it to pebbles; entropy increases: the universe’s heat death.

The thermometer’s broke. It’s too cold to think of death,
but when the daylight fades in, a slow dissolve, and man
and man work to keep ourselves vertical from the crush
of the cold, wind, and glaciers. Once we found a camp,
not inhabited by living things, desiccated and devoured
by the snow cap; the dry air curls dead things to fetal

positions—and cold enough to break bone—or a fatal
freak victim buried alive and alone inside singular death.
Dead memories are not relevant. The big sleep devours
memories like a sumo wrestler; these twelve tired men,
—more before, there are now only a dozen in my camp—
have nothing but snow and wide, sallow shoulders to crush.

That night, the Russian icebreaker Yamal comes crushing
the virgin arctic ice and setting the way for new and fetal
water to harden itself. The lights blink over the camp-
fire, before fuel is exhausted—like cancer’s own death
is a scorched Earth policy—and, this is no measure of man,
I pull apart reindeer barehanded and chew and devour

the muscles of characters and children’s dreams. I devour
like the terminator, the line between night and day, crushing
out the sun, juicing it like a lemon used by unworthy men
to poison their wives. The arctic says civilization is still fetal,
stars still scare us as does destiny, and nothing is above death.
Do you believe in fate? So below, at evolution’s base camp

all life, especially mine, is helpless. Though that feels campy
and stupid and useless for evolution. We can taste, devour
the last of ourselves, cannibalize our world, and let death-
hands roam all over us, like new fat lovers’ hands crushing
each other; and the voices out of young and old and even fetal
are squeezed from our collective larynx, quashing hopes of men.

Still, Orion stands on that icebreaker: a man of the celestial camp,
constellation consisting of stars fetal, ancient, nova, and devoured
black holes’ atoms crushed to a fine paste; even his fate is death.