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Redrawing the Map of the Known World

Redrawing the Map of the Known World

Published Nov 21, 2022 Updated Nov 21, 2022
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Redrawing the Map of the Known World

 

 

Redrawing the Map of the Known World

 

The tower was the father I never had. 

Its topmost turrets are washed by maritime hegemony.

Like a frowning profile, I know

the Moorish balconies by their protrusions.

 

Little is known about my youth.

I studied mathematics and navigation as the times demanded.

An extension of my index finger,

auxiliary lines set off for the shores of

an appropriated spice trade.

 

On the twentieth of November a shoal of names

flared up and blazed across expectation.

As we rounded the Cape of Good Hope

under the Portugese flag, the Leonids

were staining the horizon turquoise.

 

What’s a pension, an estate, a set of spurs,

when you can name a river in Mozambique after copper?

What are four hundred women and children burnt to ash,

when you can hoist to the yardarm

a new, more lucrative era?

 

©Anna Bentley 2022 for the English translation

 

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