A bird hums low through human sleep,
hums softly lullaby,
bifocals their Burchfields reap.
Columbus is a Jonah still.
The outcast Genoese
casts off, a shifty breeze
of shuttered Inquisition swells
bright spinnaker for Spanish Main.
Indies glimmer in the grain;
Powhatan’s skipping maid
knots scalp & quipu in one braid –
taps down lost gold of tumbleweed
& prairie memory
to one wide planetary
estuary (harvest mead).
The bird floats feathered in her gypsy
treasure chest. The ship
is Holigost – Time’s keep
(unfathomed yet). Each Henry V,
grandee Philip will drop the knee
her way; each hungry soul
will stand renewed & whole
upon New Land someday (you’ll see).
Thus in the globe of Jonah’s word
the world comes round, & so
one wing’s carefree proportion
curls each creaking mast homeward.
Statue of Columbus (Elmwood Avenue, Providence)