The Penguins in Antarctica

With every pay check I bought a bag of rice and sent it to the penguins in Antarctica. After dropping off
the first bag at the mail box, the world felt as if it were in bloom. There was a flourish to every
movement, the normal cacophony of sounds turned to an ordered symphony. I found myself tipping more,
talking about the cold south of us, how dark it can get at the bottom of the world. I was doing my part. I
bought fire starter kits and pots to send to the penguins. I quit my job and started a non-profit. I was going
to build an electrical grid, and put up windmills, give the penguins in Antarctica homes and hearths and
power for all. Before me, the world was a sturgeon scudding in ice water, tracing its movements by the
glint of my harpoon.

A Fake Signature on Fake Documents

I signed one of these documents once, at the bank when I was depositing my tax return. There wasn’t a
cloud in the sky. I told the teller “I want to deposit this check into my account.” She said “ok, sign this
first please.” and handed a very formal looking page to me. I signed the document without looking at it
and handed it back to her. The teller took the page from me, smiled, and then took the check. She got up
from her seat behind the bulletproof glass and placed the document on a windowsill. When she came
back I asked her why she put the document there, under the window. “Shouldn’t it go in a filing cabinet
or be scanned into a computer?” I asked. “I don’t know.” The teller said. I asked her what those
documents were that I signed. “What were those documents? What did I sign?” “I don’t know,” the teller
said, “I’m just a teller, they don’t tell me much.” and she laughed. I also laughed. I asked her another
question. “Do you ever feel like you don’t belong here? That something is off, or maybe something is
missing? Or that you’re living a stolen life? That your world isn’t yours but borrowed, and borrowed, and
borrowed? Like you’re squatting in a house and don’t know if anyone is coming back?” “I’m just a teller,
they don’t tell me much.”

SHAUN HOLLOWAY has an MFA from George Mason University where he taught Literature and Composition. His poems have been published in Canyon Voices Magazine, Pithead Chapel, and has upcoming publications in Kestrel: A Journal of Literature and Art, and Inverted Syntax.