Dennis James Sweeney
from IN THE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE



69°45'S 39°5'E


Translation: Put your oar down and come with me.

Translation: This is not an open city.

Translation: The bar is closed, we’ve all gone home, we’ve got lives. Do you have a life? The keg is in the corner wrapped in a fishing net, the bar is closed.

Translation: The way home is precisely the distance between you and the horizon.

Translation: Everyone barefoot by now.

Translation: Except you.



90°0' S 0°0' W



The South Pole shudders at our approach.

In the Antarctic Circle, humans transmit like radio waves. Like lightning through water.

The South Pole is not in fact a pole.

The bald bottom of existence, shivering and doubting.

Darling—as in polarity.

Without some deep-set hopes and/or beliefs, what is your purpose in coming?

The silence of the greatness of silence.

The long way out.



NOTHING: A DEFINITION



n. v. adv. adj. prep. pron. conj. Tear. ( ). Miracle. Men. Grasping. “Ghost.” Profound-er. Particle. Blanket. Sheath. Margin. Total. Cuerpo. Spanish: flee. Target. Miss-ter. Blink-er. Tank-er. Particle. Switz-er (-land). int.! int.! Law. Participle. A child (rearing). Blind-er. Major, unsung. What is there under a rock? Wheel well. Pinpoints. Connect the _______. Tranquilize-er. Business. Particle. Hero. Garment. Water, wine, air. _______ crawls across you for all time, leaving its claws in _______. Particle. Heart. Expansion set. Hadrian. Mast-er. Distance between in and on the wall. Cold and certain. “Ice.” Memory. Particle. Carve a mortar and pestle. Climb a tree. Release a child from your whim and look down.





Dennis James Sweeney is the author of the chapbook What They Took Away, winner of the 2013 CutBank Chapbook Contest. At the moment he lives in Corvallis, Oregon.