Mappemundi. That word: I meant
To anchor myself in song with
Adrift, I sang shoals at the margin. No,
I sang depth, I mean. I thought myself
Past the margin, Why do I hear you laugh?
I only spoke no Sirens
When the waves calmed me and no
Monsters when the ocean frenzied—
All was on the page I thought upon.
I see, Sir, the whale dive past margin.
I see the world is flat and the map flat
That records it, and both page and world
Speak each other forever. Put a fold
In eternity and it is just as flat and
Take the map of the world and fold it
Into a boat and the boat becomes the world.
If only, Sir, if only the whirlpool sucked
Through the page into no words—
There with the whale the world could end.
Is that what I want? Why I sang?
Even your “No” is breath cupped
in the sail.
A red pen is rudder, uncapped, red ink
On horizon is sunrise: delete dawn, /\
/\ shadow at noon.
Here’s my submission,
My last request. I’ve printed my
On one side of each page. Now turn each
Page over. Spread them out on the floor
Until the floor is blank with no words.
Spill out into hallway on this wave. Walk
When the blank page ends in white tile
You won’t notice. When you walk out
The glass door the taxi’s horn will
be the hawk
’s cry. Out my front door, the traffic
I hate the sunset’s every red ribbon
Because, untied, they reveal
A lamp gone out. A day. No oil can be lit
In a pewter midnight that once burned
Will never burn again. I see the dark edge
Of day saline beneath water. No anchor
In song. The world is flat if the page
Delete all. Here’s one country: my
It seals the envelope. Here’s one
My lips, my tongue. They seal the envelope.
Suffer whiteness. My white hand in a white
My lips white with salt. The white rain—I
Sings white a lullaby to the milky white
And the milky white ocean
It calms as it dives down.