in the havenwoods, a different gossip
is discernible from bird-talk
it comes from the paisa
the fairies of the forest

the paisa speak of
a young Meskwaki woman
who felt her way
through the trees
chased by cartographers
wielding the sharp points of compasses

exhausted and lost
stuck and desperate
she lay down on the bluff
overlooking the beyond

ripped naked on a red granite ledge
under a full wolf moon
exposing ink lines of latitude
and longitude tattooed on her bare flesh

with contour lines crowding her nipples
and place names stitched
on her valleys and curves
in invasive English

this young Meskwaki woman was
someone else’s map
someone else’s breasts
someone else’s sex

the paisa think the course was predestined
when located by her navigators

she leapt

flapping and tattering
from the bluff
no longer to be read

(Spring ’13)