These are the precise GPS coordinates
where this island ends and becomes
an iron-colored sea chipping away at mythology,
the shore littered with meager treasures
harvested from aging shipwrecks
groping their way toward icy reprieve:
a red bucket, an orange buoy, some yellow rope
hidden beneath ashen driftwood
bleached by brine, sun, and time.
We drop our packs and make camp
but not a fire because it is forbidden.
All through the night the sky is full of light
and a stubborn wind assaults the tent,
fiberglass poles bending beneath invisible weight
and a heaviness I can’t quite articulate as I lie awake.
We have become the first men
striving to discover this place again,
to land on rocky shore far from home,
explore this pillar of dark stone escaping the sea
reborn in a dance of fire and ice, cold and heat —
like the first Vikings who journeyed to Iceland,
our personal sagas drain into the stark landscape.
In the morning, we break camp
head south by southwest
winding our way from cairn to cairn
over snow-covered mountains
shrouded in mist and down into boggy marsh
where the land is treacherous and harsh,
alive with a water-song singing its way back to the sea.
Today, it’s just you and me, this water and earth,
together carving a path that vanishes into everything.