Between the Lines of History Books
by Joy Hewitt Mann
A spider hanging from the mast
saw the New World in a looking glass,
saw the monster with its green, hairy back,
and the red man
sitting on its shoulder,
reading the future in his palm --
and the ocean stirred its cauldron slowly
spells were cast
educated men measured out the spaces in the sea
and promised success.
The crew have seen the flames in Columbus' eyes
fanned brighter as they near land,
and it is partly because of the wind
and mostly because she is virgin
and his loins burn for her,
and his men feel the tightness of his coiled fire
and they grow hard and stare into each others eyes
and think of rape.
At the edge of the sunburnt ocean
the red man waits.
His palm, outstretched,
drips blood into the water.
He has seen his lifeline ripped by the coming wind;
heard the music of sails shaping his future.
The green monster trembles below him.
slowly strokes her with a loving hand.