Where the map is blank it indicates nothing.
There is no place on the map where nothing exists. Where the map is blank it indicates something you saw but then forgot. Where the map is blank it indicates a task you failed to complete. Where the map is blank it indicates a lack of food.
Where the map is blank it indicates an island you have not yet visited. Where there is not an island there is at least a tower. Where there is not a tower a ship circles, groaning under its own cannon.
From the boat the island appears to be a plain tower of rock & grass & tree. It rises & sinks in the water. It is a floating tower. Or the sea is breathing evenly up its sides & down again.
Every island used to be a tower in the town that is drowned beneath them. The sea covers the town with its breath & the islands are anchored to the town though the town is gone. Towns have grown at the top of the towers. They never look down.
Diamond steps run the length of the tower inside the island. They are flanked on either side by great bowls of fire. The steps are not a ladder to anywhere. They are an invisible chest in plain sight. They are a hiding place for a cave.
In the secret cave in the diamond steps is the power to make visible the invisible. In the invisible chest of the secret cave is a visible chest covered with thorns. It glows with what it offers you.
Here is the map to the places of the invisible boat. Here is the map of how the boat of ghosts moves around the sea with the changing moon. The compass is a telescope with which you view the moon. The map is a map with which you track the boat.
The boat is invisible even after you have found it. You see it & see through it & it burns with the burning bodies of ghosts. The boat needs no map. Inside there is only one small room. You can fall down into it but not get back out.
In the ship of ghosts there is the light of their burning bodies & of the lanterns they carry. They enter your body & turn back your eyes. They make your body burn with the light of their lanterns.
In the ship of ghosts there is one ray of light which comes neither from the moon nor the sun nor from inside the boat. In the room the ghosts appear & disappear but the light is constant. This light is how you burn the ghosts out of your own body when they have taken you over.
In the circle of light a flower grows from the invisible wood. You cut it down & cut it down.
Lisa Ciccarello is the author of three chapbooks: At night (Scantily Clad Press, 2009), At night, the dead (Blood Pudding Press, 2009) & the upcoming Sometimes there are travails (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Handsome, Tin House, Denver Quarterly, Leveler, Poor Claudia & Corduroy Mtn., among others.