I like maps because they lie.— Wislawa Szymborska
Mastering the fold and refold—to know
how to orient from two dimensions—
into three—to get where you want to go.
Maps do lie, out of necessity, though—
how they permit through approximation—
mastering all the folds—so we can know.
Highways, train track, rivers—the puffing blow
of the West Wind, monsters, demarcation—
legends show where you want (and not) to go.
Some people never use a map—too slow.
They find the world on foot, their own nation,
mastering each fold of the land—they know.
I won’t ever fly, or feel as a crow
does, air shift with the ground’s undulation.
I need maps to get where I want to go.
Game trails, foot paths, roads—ever less narrow,
history’s cool path of annotation.
Maps fold flat and unfold worlds we might know,
showing how to get where we long to go
Copyright 2020 Nick Graham
Nick Graham was born and lived in south Florida until he was twelve, when his family moved progressively north to North Carolina then Ohio and finally to New Jersey over the next two years—and has lived in NJ and PA for the last forty years.
I love the flow of this villanelle. My wandering spirit wants so badly to grab a map and go.
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