Choropleth

To describe a future that isn't
coy anymore about showing its face,  

we need to begin the massive labor
of corrections. Once, monks

and their acolytes sat at long 
tables in the scriptorium, day 

after day extracting bright 
minerals from plants and insect 

bodies, tracking silverpoint across 
vellum plates, dipping the ends 

of brushes into wells of goldleaf. 
Now we begin to dismantle elaborate 

overlays of luster, grand networks 
of erroneous facts. Magellan, 

whose name was given to those dark-
blue straits across the Tierra 

del Fuego, did not circumnavigate 
the earth; the honor must go 

to his Filipino interpreter Enrique. 
Columbus did not discover the Americas:

hundreds of nations were in place 
before he crowed about finding rhubarb 

and cinnamon and a thousand other 
things of value, before he laid down 

a trade route for cotton and silver 
and slaves, as many as they shall order 

to be shipped and who will be from 
the idolaters. Peer into mirrors 

and see villages decimated by fire, 
valleys from which creatures fled

toward forests of glinting knives.  
From smoke, collect precious blood. 

We can't stop until our cities gleam
with the shine of our stolen names.   

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