At dawn, when the ship seemed steady below me, its flamed helm pointing us west, I would take my rare strolls between Cancer and Capricorn, starboard, to watch the peril of my successors set adrift, the way fog might drift. I knew the route of the new Columbus was not through those straights, but the row of sails, wind-swollen, were urging us all on.
I can’t trust the sea. (With its foam and convulsive gasps, its hospitality for all creatures save us, breathing heavily on this wooden tub.) I’m not much of a sailor.
One morning, I thought I saw the archipelago, lacy shores of those islands we were all longing for. I raised the alarm. I wanted to be the messenger.
In exchange for a moment of rest, beneath my bare feet the sand catches fire. In the balance of the posthumous flora, we are refused, forbidden from alighting.
I floated away from that silken shore of the first parting from myself.
We’ve no choice but to continue our journey, though I know I have nothing to offer. I am simply a man with a boat.
Published online March 12 2014.
Poet, translator and editor Oana Avasilichioaei’s books include We, Beasts (2012, winner of the QWF’s A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry), feria: a poempark (2008) and a poetical translational collaboration with Erín Moure, Expeditions of a Chimæra (2009). She has translated poetry from the Romanian of Nichita Stănescu (Occupational Sickness, 2006), the Quebecois French of Louise Cotnoir (The Islands, 2011), and most recently a novel by Daniel Canty (Wigrum, 2013).
This piece was published in ‘Forces to Bear: The Reculturalization of Canadian Poetry,’ the Winter 2014 issue of CV2.
Get more great poetry, interviews, and reviews delivered straight to your door four times a year. Subscribe now.