WYSSA

By Elizabeth Bradfield

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Antarctica, 1961

Compressed for Morse, compressed to better the odds
this first, flimsy signal might send sense across ocean
unbroken, I type just wyssa, which you know means
all my love, darling in this telegraph of foreseen
longing. In further news, yihkeI have grown

a beard which is generally admired, and with it
will tease the soft hollow between your hip bones
as you lie in the green field beyond our gate, or,
if you dislike the beard, I will lay my head in your lap
and let you cut it from me, cut away my months gone

and burn them, acrid and bitter. wuygtelephant seals
are breeding
, and although their heaving is nothing like
our shadows against cabbage-rose wallpaper, I am
aroused. They are the only flesh here, and they slap
against each other with unrelenting fervor. yogip

please send details of bank account. Do you have
enough? Has my time here at least fattened something?
Can I afford to say wyssa again? yayirfine snow
has penetrated through small crevices in the buildings
.
I am cold. And although we decided this code

with your breath still against my neck, your heat
anything but distant, believe that my heart's capacity
has, if anything, expanded in this chill. yonoy
from now on, all I hammer against the sounding metal
of this small machine is wyssa. All of it.

 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/05/wyssa/303910/