Geographer


My geographical interest began when
I was nine 
and my mother bought me
a foam globe that felt like
a perfectly smooth, spherical pillow
that rested in the palm of my hand.
I begged for atlases and maps like
a homeless man begs for love
or like a rich man begs for money.

In fifth grade,
I memorized all the capitals 
and all the countries
of our big blue world.
At night, 
when I couldn’t sleep,
or maybe just didn’t want to,
I closed my eyes
and found myself 
in the Galapagos laughing
at birds that look like 
they were taken straight from a comic strip,
or in Iceland marveling
at a sky that made me 
pity
the Fourth of July,
or in China, 
or Tanzania,
or the Caribbean, 
France,
Fiji,
Peru,
Italy… 

I wondered what it would be like
to stand next to men of marble, 
I thought to myself, I bet I’d be small and look
like a toddler who mistakenly
found themselves at the first period of 
the local high school.
Or maybe,
what it would be like
to stand amongst armies of figurines
and soon find myself
lost 
in a sea of ten thousand clay men?

Within the tight embrace of my white sheets
or zebra-striped blankets, I visited
more of the world
than Columbus knew existed.

And on the nights when
I was too tired
to go explore the ends of the Earth,
I settled 
for tossing a miniature globe
in the air,
up and down,
until my arms got tired
from holding 
the weight of the world.


By Colton Wills

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