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for the Russian submarine Kursk

It’s summer, and I think of the men trapped
under 300 feet of Arctic ice, submarine
tipped into the ocean floor, one day of air
remaining. They must lie completely still,
breathe incredibly small breaths. They can
no longer tap on the hull; rescue efforts
move around them in the dark. And the sun
here is shining. Last night’s moon was yellow
and low. Now the weeds in my garden
are not so urgent, my dog’s paralyzed front leg
is not so sad. I love my husband even while
we argue. They will not live — all governments,
politics, miles of frozen sea. How can they
lie so still, when I am driving to work,
listening to the radio? Families in Russia
wake up cold, cannot sleep, and 300 feet
under the ice the world is quiet.
Shallow breaths lap against the dark.


Brittney Corrigan’s poems have appeared in The Texas Observer, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Borderlands, The Blue Mesa Review, Oregon Review, Manzanita Quarterly, Hip Mama, Stringtown, and Many Mountains Moving, among others. She is the poetry editor for the online literary journal Hyperlexia and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children. To read more of Brittney’s work, visit her website at

© 2011, Brittney Corrigan

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