Chris Jordan checks in on the eve of our last day on Midway Island before our departure.
At this moment on Midway Atoll, the juvenile albatrosses are in the throes of their courtship dances. Their nonstop rave is the main source of all the buoyant motion and noise on the island as they seek a bond before flying out to sea to feed for the remainder of the summer. In this poem I’ve attempted to capture the sights and sounds of this ecstatic dancing season.
Courtship Medley à la Albatross
It begins with a prance dance,
a tiptoe head-bob waddle
and a wing fluff. Then, fake a preen,
shake out a sideways
a chair-leg-floor-scrape scream,
and sidle into a crooked raga
with fast and furious tabla drums,
and applause, applause, wait –
it’s a drill-hammer fixing
a squeaky door behind the beak,
a flanking feather-grab tease
to a show of chocolate origami wings,
quick switcheroo to a bass kazoo,
throw the head up high, trumpet
to blow the clouds from the sky,
it’s a match, it’s a mate, a pact
to hatch an egg, raise a chick,
then bid adieu until next season,
dancing days forever over
in favor of a lifelong bond.
~Victoria Sloan Jordan