Claudia K. Grinnell was born and raised in Germany. She now makes her
home in Monroe, Louisiana, where she teaches English at Northeast
Louisiana University. Her poems have appeared in numerous print and
This Time, Columbus Won't Be Back
This time, he shaved real close
and lit a candle in the Basilika de St Angelo
left a message for his mother
wondered what do with the goldfish.
This time, he was ready to go.
This time, stones didn't skip,
not even less and less. This time,
he waited for the call from the angel
(the same one who usually books
diving excursions to Aruba)--waited
to hear whether the earth was still
flat, waited for reports on weather
conditions in the Tropic of Cancer.
He sold whatever would give comfort
to the enemy: the impatient buds
of early March, the precise coordinates
of the last landing--even the bronze compass,
a gift from a king or a woman who meant
well and nothing to him. This time,
it would be different--he left no clothes
in her apartment. This time, he took
his Bombay gin. This time, he needed
the call to duty, arms, and sea,
and the sly pragmatism of water rations.
This time, he has reason to believe
in something, in the names on a map,
some stars overhead, in the impossible
between this soul and his body, in this
gap which generates all
he has to lose. This time, all
the mirrors in Lisbon are covered
in black. This time,
no one stands on the shore.
Claudia Grinnell discovers 'another' country-- the bourne from which no traveler returns.