Endurance Glacier

by | Jun 13, 2023 | CNF, Issue Thirty-Three

It took a hundred thousand years to cultivate a soul this blue, so blue you don’t have a word for it. Your words aren’t ancient enough. Soon all that’s left of me will be the sound of katabatic winds and the clink of ice against crystal as you toast to your own demise.

You drill into my core, which is to say coeur,which is to say heart. A heart of ice and carbon you regard as an object to study. You imagine me a dead thing, but I eat light. I’m insatiable. My appetite increases with age; my blue deepens the more I devour. There’s also green, the color of plankton, of photosynthesis. I saved my maternal instincts for those single-celled organisms sucking up carbon dioxide as fast as they can, but never fast enough. An odd couple, the microscopic algae and the gentle giant large enough to be seen from outer space. But our fates are bound inextricably.

Can’t you see I’m your frozen Rosetta stone, your scrying mirror, your time machine? Vade mecum: peer at a planet before your own existence, an epoch when the world didn’t revolve around you, if you have the courage, which is at its root cor, which is to say you will need to steel your heart to face what I’ve become. Soft. I wasn’t meant for tenderness. My love was meant to be inhospitable, except for that blue, which was always beyond you. And now it’s too late even for time travel. We’re doomed. A hundred millennia, give or take, and my life was just beginning. I had shades of blue to discover that had never been imagined before. I should’ve emanated unfathomable wavelengths, darker than the night sky and vaster.

My name signifies immutability, a mise-en-abyme. Instead it’s a bitter irony. Bitter like that cold that pierces your bones, a feeling you’ll try to remember when you are old, but won’t be able to conjure.

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