Histories of Conquest

"No geology is neutral." - Kathryn Yusoff

Divide, they said. And they divided
valleys into troughs, separated water 

from its native names, our people
from each other.  Collectors flapped 

their arms under the canopy, marveling
at the ruffled crest of the umbrella 

cockatoo while thinking up possible
carnival routines. The tiny footprints 

of chevrotain disappeared in dense 
carpets  of moss. Domesticate meant: 

make a hole large enough for a body 
to occupy, so the work of expansion 

continues from inside. Mountains 
hollowed for silver and gold, for copper 

vein. The opening in the land a skylight 
for all the dark bodies dropped into it,

made to extract their most sacred
elements. In time, the land publishes

every incursion— Open any rock face to read 
the overlapping tables.  Make a pin map 

of every place where matter was atomized 
for some kind of conquest or consumption.


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