"Vinland" by Lori Lamothe

Lori Lamothe

Lori Lamothe

Lori Lamothe's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 42opus, Barn Owl Review, Cream City Review, Linebreak, Notre Dame Review, Seattle Review, SHAMPOO and other magazines. Her chapbook, Camera Obscura, is available from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Massachusetts with her eight-year-old daughter.


To some, the Vinland map offers proof that Norse explorers discovered North America before Columbus did; to others, it is simply a well-crafted forgery.
—Scientific American 

A ship sails along the edge 
of fifteenth century parchment.
Forests roll out their green carpets. 
Grapes glow in ripened light. 

Then a scientist extracts titanium out of ink 
and skims evidence off seeing. 
Doubt spills across the Atlantic,
darkens a yellowed map.

Who spliced Thor to the ballpoint pen, 
Aurora Borealis to Betty Crocker, 
red beards to pink cadillacs? 

A map-maker presses reality's print onto doubt. 
Another dips a quill in forgery 
and makes up what actually happened.
Will the real Past please stand up? 

Dust history for lies. Take statements 
from Columbus, the usual Indians, 
the braided winds of un-named lands.