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Melina Draper

Terra Incognita

Limestone wafers shelved like moldering books,
splintered centuries pressed into the continent’s lip.
Look, this colonia quaffed blood, ingested gristle, guts, and bone.

Into the mouth of the river the vessel drove before her bows two billows of liquid phosphorous.
Looking back, the crest of every wave was bright. The water, shook in a tumbler,
shot sparks. He found butterflies that clacked, their sound

similar to that of a toothed wheel passing under a spring catch.
And what of the stories he heard of the
marvelous property of certain rivers, which had the power of changing small bones into large …

Of uprising Patagonia and Banda Oriental–where he found gigantic sloth
and armadillo-like animals entombed, a lost Pachydermata the size of a camel–
Don Carlos Darwin observed, Formerly, it must have swarmed with great monsters.

As the ancient map suggested.


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