Quickly, he learned the art of flensing,
of peeling back the strange skins
from the swimming birds that streaked beneath
the Terra Nova’s prow,
a rhythm of slice and pause timed
to the ship’s lurch, bright flash
of metal in his chill hand conducted
by wave and ice against hull.
And so the skins piled up—became his plenty
as onions dwindled in the barrels and flour sacks
sagged from full and the taste of his own mouth
became foreign to him.
Black and white pelts
feathered, sleek, unqualified by gray. His diary
of the journey. His best calendar of days
—moldy, cramped in their salted boxes—
but, once home, exotic, redolent
of all he found he could not say.
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