True South

No true north
for me. No point
of orientation, fixed
and prophetic. I’m drawn
to what throws me off
balance, the place where nothing’s
familiar, including me. I count
tussocks, petrels, penguins from this headland
above Penola Strait, feel the wind bluster
my jacket, inhale
the salt and guano
air. But what am I? All
these names to identify, sort,
claim the barrenness: Crystal Sound, Errera
Channel, Pendleton Sea, traveler,
yogi, poet, woman. Language is not
enough, of course. Even the air
disorients me here. Lichen
and moss speckle the dark rocks white
and green. I could learn
their names, but I won’t. Their strange
presence a challenge. I am my own
compass. Imprecise. Iceburn,
this longing.

A. Hampford


A. Hampford is a writer, traveler, yogi, lover of nature and animals (especially dogs). Currently, she is working on a chapbook inspired by Antarctica and aging. She is based in Connecticut but is spending this year on the coast of Ecuador, enjoying life in another language.

© 2019