Saltwater

I’ve been told
that Columbus never discovered America,
that the accolade belongs to the indigenous,
to the Vikings, to Zheng He.

Yet the impassioned Genovese
who knew America since birth,
since childhood, through every failure
and sickness,

who knew without knowing,

didn’t allow the dream to die
in the hearts of men sacrificed,
in shabby trading posts,
or in the footnote of a forgotten map.

No.

Children frolic.
Men challenge the horizon.

Colombo of Genoa
knew America before America knew America,
before he knew he.

It filled his eyes and stomach,
gripped his strained heart,
beleaguered his ships,
clouded his intellect,
weakened his knees
as it’s unsung song
rung in his ears,
while men heard only the whistle of wind
passing through torn sails.

Find something in this life
and let it own you.
Let it save you,
kill you.

Colombo of Genoa discovered America,
for America owned him,
America saved him,
and, before summoning his silent resurrection,
America killed him.

He wasn’t the first
to know of soil beyond the Atlantic,
to know of cities with temples and greed,
to know of the tribes and their tangles of strife,
but Colombo of Genoa
discovered America
for Colombo of Genoa
fell madly in love.

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