Canisia Lubrin

What New Map

Text reading: I am constructing a map of the region, paying attention to faces, to the unknowable, to unintended acts of returning, to impressions of doorways.

What New Map


Suppose howls, like thresholds, spread.
As well as any virus while we are.
Water over stone. While only.
A child sees. The wind swell into.
Birds. Any speech. Worth any start.
All signs we exist in the same Earth.
Swept. Into a dust pile.
Behind the door. In the black.

We sail from. The blue hills shake.

With the animals’ appetites. With all life.
And a soupçon of lime. Enter and grow farther
from dirt. We, though untrained for this life.
Like the garden’s new nakedness, stretch.
Into engines. Into kindling. Into horns.
Music as ruffle of silk. Soundless, we go.
As cotton, verdigris. A diet of fruit and alarm.


Wind calls the nose. The shape we the living.
Rope. For herdswomen. No one sees. For
Doctors. Who beach in crop time. Thickening.
Groin-sickness. Loosed beside a druggist.
One undertaker. Some mothers. Asleep.
Along a way. To hulls. We had refused.
To Empty once. Calling ourselves. Flame.
Sickly. Again, we are knotted by singing.

In the corners of our swift heads.
We are slanted. We crumble roads.

Before the argument of
marshes. History’s fevers.
Us making our invisible
dissents. Nearer to evening.
We give back the hedges.
Touching our wanting ends.
To a bevy of words. Filed.
On the edge.
Of nightfall. In the blind
chasm. As though the world
should begin. Elsewhere,
where we are flame.
In a halved night already.
Haunted by. The search.


The shade, strong with its leaves.
Suture us to sea when we are limp.
And funereal and the dog barks.
Its quarter. Of the earth to burning.
And we live longer than flesh.
Longer than the old sugar-mill.
With the faded memo. Addressed.
To the kerosene days, falsehoods.
Longer than need stitching us.
To the hidden cities the woods wear.
Like light. Like forename. Love’s
tyranny. Like echoes potent enough.

Slower to iron, rusted now:
A tree exists only.

To tempt the water. Because we
cannot. Meet our dead among.
The ewers sparked with ribbons.
These marrows along the coast.
Feeble as bark tacked to maps.
Engorged and crusting their own
hearts. With little to hear here. We
spread. Where everything has its
season. Where the map and the tree
are soon like tongues. Our spilled
topographies naming something else


Suppose a girl traces, touches.
The place of a door in its act.
Of closing our blue-pencilled lives.
We careen. Hold air. Water. Seaside.
Mammals. The disappeared. If.
Our plea for wings. For the watered
people homed in our livers.
Could now refuse even light.

What bareness would know us.
By paper and bone. By currents.

By more. Suppose our lives litter.
Suppose we magnitude 7.3.
And pocketless. Can soon be.
Swiped. Can pass without injury.
Between these infrastructures.
Of ghosts. Boats from which. One or
two of us break. Rein. And we can.
Name twelve compasses. Harping.
Five hundred knocks on our doors.
Life as time spent with names, turns
to bury in the windswept years.


A country overhears two fault lines.
As the world cuts its keys.
On the least we’ve known.
On our coming back shorn.
From the limits of our non-existence.
While we sleep. Haiti eats.
Any line that speaks:
Lyonola, look how we search.
And pity. Look how we world.

And world and embrace.
And now pass among us.
And our new friends. Look.
How we storm. And gripe.
The deep drum of you.
When they come: crown them
With a coffin for your daring.
Another for your light. Another yet.
For your eye that never closes.
What is rest here to the Girl
-Hood. Fury you were.


When of course to close a bend.
At the approach of these. Stranded.
Others. An eye matte with lasi.
Another with a story from Colombo.
Brushed on lavish. Cotton.
Hardening the sea. Oceans.
Must wreck all windows pocked.

With condensate. All these ways.
Through exile. Ebullient.
Following the blue maroon.
Suppose these sentences. Cliff again.
With everything already gone.
Come. Patch a mile with our bellies.
Simple and violent here:


With silence. As musical as science.
(Let us in, portraitist).
Nobody is allegory here.
The map distrusts the photograph.
As any force would imagine. Itself.
Pressed into mark. We know. What.
Rupture. What blossom. What again.
Is a pencil’s. Sharpening if not
a voice. A note

We hear breathe its leaden life.
In the middle of a sentence.
Beyond a skull. Trapping our sound.
Cyst-like. A single screw welded
to a graphite bell. Our dull memory:
counterpoint. For the opening. From
Soufrière to Cape Town we canvas
for j’ouvert.


The road uphill is like a crooked
easel. A mule-like woman.
Throw(s) at the sky. A wood reused
since one century was new.
To folding. The smalling world in
two. Or any ordinary taw closer.
To gust and firefly. Would bury.
These crimes that sleep.
With us. And themselves.

Tell the organ that knows me. Best:

Is over there I gone.
Is the sièl I want.
Around this geography.
Of somebody. I love.
Black and all. Careworn.
Like my hair.
Pulled to grey from myself.
How to say I see. And see.
And hello. As if my foot.
An hour ago, my hand:
Must no longer turn. The daily oar.
Ferocious as this. We close.
And then scatter. Into life.


If the language of rains is.
The sky. Passioned for the next.
Decade and the children must have.
Their turns. Now. Who will be first.
To draft tomorrows we rouse.
With wet feet. Stiff in this gravel.
With fingers rooting out more.
Evenings. Melting Earthholes.

Like (f)our small meanings.
Or needs. If another of us must.
Bear the morning. Into a picture.
For somebody’s gallery. Of grief.
Suppose a sun learns fire.
By coming to this sea again. Learns
fire. By boiling into the cold.
The animal of day.