The Lost Tin Myth
Jul 1, 2008
You come ashore to sight of castings,
an engine house, the far-off silhouettes
of fieldwork and minehaul. The sound
of this island is assembly, manufacture
knolled into landscape. You breathe
in air and taste ore. If you expected
welcome, you were mistaken.
What you know of this place—hills
the beaten texture of worked metal,
a winter the white silver of tin
won from cassiterite—are the elements
of something approaching myth.
The trick by which an island disappears
is not through a trapdoor in a metaphor
of the cardboard theatre of the world,
is not the shift of tectonic plates:
the island becomes the tale of island;
its inhabitants, figures of inhabitants.
July 01, 2008