Dorsía Smith Silva is a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Portland Review, Stoneboat, Storyscape, Pidgeonholes, and elsewhere. She is also the editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and the co-editor of six books.
Down, down, with la Niña, la Pinta, and la Santa María.
Bring the ropes to double snap the memory of what he
said that he discovered. The geometric shapes of his
wingspan lies are hurled into the river, but the lost
native bodies cannot swim ashore. I know that history
books inhale your whiplash of foreign lands and color
the pages with your pockets sucking gold coins. Yes, I
can count how you attached your name to everything
like refrains of the Beatles. Columbus, the great!
Columbus, the bold! Up, up went the sheets of iron
in Buenos Aires, Genova, Salamanca, Richmond,
and Vancouver—just to name a few. But now, the
chains are fitting you again. First, the head falls,
then the hands are spray-painted scarlet, and next
the base rocks. Someone gives it a shove until it
hits the checkpoint of giving way to vertical hands.
They want to take back what is theirs, reclaim all
that fell like beheaded fruit from the bed of the pickup
truck. Into the ocean, into the ocean, down into the
ocean you go, a wrought legacy with a rusted tongue.