Transforma-se o amador na cousa amada,
Por virtude do muito imaginar;*
—Luís Vaz de Camões, 1524 – 1580,
from Sonnet, “Transforma-se o amador na cousa amada”
Descending in an ice age created by sulfuric acid
boiling above my tenth grade Bunsen burner, I throw smoke
like an ancient diesel truck
and a young volcano, and wait for a warmer earth.
Accumulation is such a process.
My glacial tongue is out in high tide
along with the rush of sediment.
Crustace swim, and arctic terns reel glibly
in the blue air; ice rinds glitter on and on and on
as distant swells break.
I want to convince you that Coles Brook always flows
constantly past my house
and despite the shallow waters
there is an empty boat drifting through my imagination—
a strange caravel the poet Camões could use
to carry his sword against my disbelief
of conquering words,
a sinking ship he swam from
holding an unfinished poem aloft
searching for a lonely safety.
The boat’s wooden hull bangs awkwardly against its anchors
as it settles deep underwater.
The currents continue to push the shore.
Anchors crumble, dinsintegrate from time,
and in the current, a ribbon of rusty blood spreads
out like a mystery and heads where it needs to go.
Heading towards shore, a tanager tiredly shadows the white caps.
It is a movement that becomes a lithe amoeba
swimming gracefully into my visions.
It gestures like an albatross fishing above the white caps.
Before I wake, a speck of blood blows over the sand,
turns and pushes towards the stunted but sheltering oaks.
*The lover becomes the thing he loves
By virtue of much imagining;
—translation by Richard Zenith