I pick up a stick and dig a hole.
If I stand the stick straight up,
where on Earth does the bottom point to?
Google labels my fidget map tunneling.
An app calculates that I’m pointing
into the Indian Ocean, not far from Perth.
I learn that Tangier is opposite Christ Church,
and Hawaii is opposite a park in Botswana.
I swivel the stick, crossing cities and towns,
beaming Hey, I’m here, on the other side.
When my hand stills— where am I pointing?
What is the latest news? Who sings the popular songs?
Tracing a precise ellipse would sweep the equator,
but the app doesn’t have that feature.
Which circle’s diameter would intersect where the planet’s
mantle rests on the iron core, or the crust on soft mantle?
I think about pointing into the 32 Southern constellations,
starting with the Southern Ecliptic Pole in Dorado.
This poem was published as the
Red Wheelbarrow Poem of the Week
for August 12th, 2015. It was inspired by
some downtime at the NYC Poetry Festival
on Governors Island.