The Explorer's Daughter

by JoSelle Vanderhooft

He rescued continents from certain darkness,
volcanic islands from fantastic monster's jaws
and circled the hot seas so many times
not even village priests could then deny
the blue earth's pregnancy.

He laid down latitudes like martial law
and redrew the crumbling maps so expertly
the crowns of golden Europe warred for his patronage,
and explorers coming after named their strange machines
in his honor.

But though he discovered yawning, icy steppes
and native tribes with heads fixed in their bellies
he could not discover the cause of his daughter's silent misery
until she had vanished like a compass' direction
beneath red skies.

As she swung like a sack of corn beneath the rafters,
her lifeless toes tipping his perspectives
as if in retribution
he could not but wonder that her broken form
resembled some strange, forbidding peninsula
and the surrounding darkness -- the only wild sea
he would never navigate.

JoSelle Vanderhooft's poetry and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Jabberwocky, Mythic, Aoife's Kiss, Star*line, Not One of Us and others. Her first novel, The Tale of the Miller's Daughter, was released in June, 2006 by Papaveria Press. Her second novel, Owl Skin and a number of other books will be released in 2008 also from Papaveria. For more of her poetry, be sure to check out Ossuary (2007, Sam's Dot Publishing) and Handless Came the Maiden and Other Tales Twice Told (2008, Sam's Dot Publishing), which includes several poems that first appeared here. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she works as the assistant editor of a small newspaper.

And with my debt to Shakespeare, do you really expect a fair answer to that question?! Why can't Sappho and Will just let George Bernard Shaw and Homer duke it out and go out for drinks or something?

But seriously. Shakespeare would break his left arm and Sappho would severely wrench her right shoulder, thus calling an end to the match for health reasons (so sayeth referee and major domo John Skelton). So the match would be postponed until a later date. It's kind of like the eternal struggle between Yin and Yang, Light and Darkness, Coffee and Decaff, really.

I think this answer is creative enough for me to dodge the question.

Marge Simon continues to survive in the swamp known as Ocala, deep in the Florida Everglades. She's been sighted running through the cypress screaming "Nevermore!" but she keeps coming back anyway to edit Star*Line, journal of the SF Poetry association.

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