The following is a list of possible illnesses one may face during an expedition and the essential tools to survive.
opticompass, a pocket
Flingknives, necknives, rubbleknives.
Furrowed tentscreen, a
Alert-vaults, battle anxels,
a small trapdoor.
Image: by Valeriia Arnaud.
When I wrote this poem there was no pandemic. I thought of it as a fun linguistic exercise: research actual tools an explorer might use and create surreal portmanteau-remedies for imaginary diseases. (Side-note: This poem is part of a larger project that centers on a woman explorer, and this poem was originally meant to act as a handbook for survival.) I now write this compositional note after my 2-year old daughter coughed so hard last night she threw up twice. Now a common cold may be Covid and the remedies we have are no cure for fear. The days progress like collapsible alarms. I hold my birch sadness close to me. It has kept me good company these past 18 months. Survival (reality) speaks surreally as we search for a trapdoor out. I keep thinking there must be a new combination of words to capture or cure our present moment.