Santa Maria is on fire.
She burns at the horizon like a sun that never sets
or a soul seared stiff with guilt.

Her captain charts a level course across the smoldering map
as his veins curl and knot in the heat.
He aims to sail up pear shaped curves,
supple and inviting as a freefall from the rigging.
Against the will of gravity he aims to sail
to the rain soaked green-gold garden at the edge of the world.
He aims to penetrate her mystery.

He will come
and come.

Four hundred years before he's done.

He sighs and takes note in the log.
The paper crackles and the ink evaporates from under the quill's molten tip.
"Nothing is missing except the song of the nightingale."

Jug. Jug. Dirty ears.

Santa Maria is moving inland.
She reveals herself around the riverbend,
and in her wake, burning,
in the way that memories, stories,
bits of cloth, wood, possessions of the dead
burn in the wake of a scarlet fever.

The water.
Even the water
is on fire.

Santa Maria is coming.
Pray for us sinners.

Quoted material taken from the journal of Christopher Columbus.

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