The Iceberg Vacation

Ignoring the eager travel agent’s spiel, the deluge of brochures: sunsets, palm trees, a couple
embracing in the foamy whoosh of surf, you opt for something new, and northern.
It begins

with a roar of animal catharsis, polar bears and seagulls waving farewell
as a hunk
of iced mountain breaks away from the mass to go ka-bobbing into the drink—

Cocktails, anyone? the maitre D asks, one hand on a pear-shaped hip.
We waltz
till dawn, across the shimmer and sheer of the arctic night, while the sea froths

against an island hideaway almost imperceptibly melting, the boundaries fading
the way
boundaries will, each new realm defined by reduction, the wear and drift,

the slap of water.  By what is lost.  Still in the melting new things are found:
a mammoth, the daisies
it ate for breakfast still trapped in cold back molars—something for the kids

to play on, and a rousing challenge for the chef. Unpack your trunks,
the fur-lined cloaks,
the cummerbunds, the jar of olives, the frosty gin.  By the second week

the ice becomes soothing as the sun beams down, and seabirds scoff
at your station,
the lack of room, the once-white fields a grey morass, slushy footprints.

In the heat, in the failure of your vessel and its cracking apart, you need
to save your tears,
end the spat with your children, the punishment of your spouse.

A timely helicopter rescue, (as promised in the brochure) and you’ll wake
at last in your own bed,
returned to a life you had only just fled.

About the author

Robert McDonald lives in Chicago and works at an independent bookstore. His work has appeared recently in Bending Genres, Cloudbank, and Elsewhere, among others.

Read the full bio

Issue 05 · June 2009

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