Les Adieux

Frederick Pollack

Russia is blessed, for a group of Russians
witnesses the end.
One from the gas company,
formerly of the Ministry;
sufficiently senior
never to have acquired
the demeaning capitalist art
of charm.  A technician,
reading dials; a scientist, writing;
the pilot, whom nobody likes –
National-Bolshevik or Pamyat,
he muttered about yids the entire flight.
Yet he too stands
in an obsolete and smelly
gas-mask, watching bubbles.
The bog is a vast tarp,
damp in spots; in others,
ice has succeeded in forming.
Excellent flying weather,
for winter; the sky is green and still.
The official rumbles
at length.  The scientist
snaps; through the mask
he sounds like Bugs Bunny:
“Seventy billion tons.
A thirty percent more effective
insulator than CO2.
The permafrost will not thaw
at once.  It will take ten years,
depending on bacterial action
on the peat mass.  It’s irreversible.
We have about ten years.”
The Gazprom man frowns.
The pilot yearns
for a cigarette, laughs privately;
goes back to wondering who
is or is not a Jew.
The technician crosses himself,
and thinks how the human spirit
or at least human vitality
aspired ever upward and,
like methane, would not be forever bound.

Continue to “Ark”

About the Work

Frederick Pollack

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other of his poems and essays have appeared in Hudson Review, Southern Review, Fulcrum, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), Representations, and elsewhere. Poems have most recently appeared in the print journals Magma (UK), The Hat, Bateau, and Chiron Review. Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Snorkel, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Denver Syntax, Barnwood, Wheelhouse, Mudlark, Shadow Train, and elsewhere. Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University, Washington, DC.

back to:

From the Archives