Poetry / November 2012 (Issue 19)


by Evelyn A. So 

Maybe you sailed off
the map and lived to tell
of plunder, battles
at sea.  I picture your climbs up
the mast, the way you sang
out land!  Maybe
I laughed when the glass
showed the first
barbarians straggle
ashore, dark
and red from the sun.  How they reeked
all under heaven…Would I double
the incense and waft the sweet
odor of smoke under the noses
of my ancestors?  I'd bow, black
hair down my back, braided
the way a civil
servant wears it, and listen.  Who wouldn't
want to gaze upon our fabled
shores?  We have plenty
of powder.  What need
have we for strangers or guns,
germs or steel?  Let's drink.
The moon's up, and the rat that lives
on her pocked surface won't bite
through the string that binds earth
and heaven for ten thousand years.
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