Columbus Interviewed by Bosch


Christopher Columbus
Interviewed by Hieronymus Bosch
on His Return from the New World

“Winged creatures came with the dark,
their human faces cast in the features
of people I knew and loved.
Subtly transformed, they seemed reborn.

Their leathery wings
creaked like horse harness
and the “Splat!” of their excrement
was a slow drum beaten to a gibberish
march of dream after dream.

What could they portend?
My sister, nose stretched to beak;
my brother, lost at sea,
his eye teeth now enlarged
to a vampire’s fangs.

Each nightmare drew something
dark from my past, dressed it in fiendish garb,
and flew it with a guide-line:
a kite’s umbilical cord attached to the shadows
shifting above my bed.”

Christopher Columbus

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Christopher Columbus

leaves foot prints,
wake to his imagined ships,
dark, in the snow,
the unusual snow,
the snow they haven’t seen
in Granada city centre
for forty years.

It settles on roofs,
forms dark ridges
where the sun catches it
and turns it into
wet, dripping snow.

The Alhambra:
a wonderland of stiff,
white starched buildings,
stands out against
the mountain’s mass.

We click our cameras
and say “Just like home!”

We don’t realize
we’re repeating history
for it snowed then,
as it snows now
and Columbus
walked these streets
like any Canadian tourist,

short of breath,
short of cash,
the seams of his boots
letting in the cold,
wet snow,
you know how it is
on Yonge Street,
Main Street,
any street,
any town
in Canada.

And then the miracle:
he’s walking away,
leaving it all behind,
when the messenger
catches up to him and says:

“The war’s over:
there’s money now.
She says ‘Go for it!’
The ships you want,
the dream, the world,
they’re all yours now.”

Christopher Columbus
fell on his back,
flapped his arms,
and created winged shapes:

white-sailed ships
sailing in the snow.