Antarctica’s scientists
take more or less for granted
the disappearance of our kind.

Away from the camp’s bulldozers,
the slick runway of frozen sea,
they kneel down on the ice,
they lie in thick clothes,
ears pressed to the quiet — for sea lions,

a music, cool and luminescent —
whines and rumbling, whistles,
orphic echoes from the sea’s
desert ground — eerily cascading,
like electronics, one says —
and full of the land’s emptiness.

In the camp, they will graph its demise,
but here they lie still,
throbbing with it — exposed
to the cold, to space — and each alone
having to bear the thought.

Antarctica knows
how to choose its listeners.

Leonore Hildebrandt of Harrington was born and raised in Germany and is a member of the Flat Bay Collective of artists and writers.