by Andrew Slattery

Arctic Circle, Finland

Across the grassy tundra and flowering
saxifrage— today we’ll cross into the Circle.
Here the trees tilt at 85 to a white sun
on open axis and the fox tracks run out of sight
like perforations that strap the earth.

We approach the line and Dad takes out
his old miner’s dial compass, holds it aloft
as we walk (it’s the size of a dinner plate:
made of wood and brass, with two viewing arms
and rotating glass bezels), he calls a reading
every second step.

The eye’s pupil widens slightly as you near
the poles and come up alongside the sun.
As we hit the line Dad tilts the compass my way—
as if to teach me something of perspective.
He won’t make the call till the needle hits
then passes the markerline.

His steps edge the needle over, our viewpoint
of the universe rim uprights itself
and starts to bloat overhead.

Copyright 2021 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.