Pascua Florida

If, as certain scientists believe, water remembers:
what does the first historian dream?


Star-beneath-the-Sea, silver
ring inlaid with amber

crucifix, whose hand did you adorn? The hand
covered in dark hair

hacking through muck,
through muckish air. Yes, for the fountain

that keeps men fit
for pleasure, the pleasure of spices and fabled fruit.

That hand writ Florida anew
on that day of resurrection:

pinks, blues, and blood
reds; Tequesta, Timucua, and Tocobaga,

living tribes turned palimpsest.


There’s a secret to water, I thought watching you swim.
Tongues dissolve. Nothing settles.

Mornings, I lounge on the shore,
sipping something strong and secret.

One ritual abuts the other.
I want so much
to cling to this life.

I want so much to be released
from this scarred narrative.

History’s braid: semen, tears, memory, and milk.
My breath trembles out—how often I come
to the white-petaled water thinking we had touched.

This poem first appeared in Burrow’s anthology WE CAN’T HELP IT IF WE’RE FROM FLORIDA.