Spanish Moss
by David Faldet

the name makes me think what fear
astonishment I’d have felt had I been
at Piney Point and seen Adelantado
de Soto with glinting metal head
nine hundred fighting men
agitated horses as he stepped
from a boat that rocked on Espiritu
Santo
and proclaimed in the tongue
of devil or angel our Lord gave charge
to one man St. Peter he gave him the world
for his kingdom and jurisdiction

how marvelous the rope and spar
those animals carrying men the shine
of the hard human bodies that smelled
like pork their breath like your brother’s
what horror the way the magic warriors
mules priests pigs women slaves
picked their stumbling way through scrub
hammock and swamp to Ocali Osachile
Apalache Achalaque Tuscaluza

in the end his frightened guards wrapped
his remains in wood to plant in Mississippi
muck he claimed to rule     a seed to make
fence wires grow beards of corpsy gray

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 2.

David FaldetDavid Faldet’s poems have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Cortland Review, Mid-American Review, and Ruminate.

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