1452 c/o Laura Webb

Discovering Corvo Island

There are no trees on the island, no leaves to drop onto the ground into which no roots are gripping. This is his first observation, the first one, anyway, that he will tell anybody, our Diogo, who has found, like a complete impossibility, his island; who, having always wondered what it would look like, now rehearses telling it, holding the words in his mouth a moment before letting them slip: A risen rock, all green, below a green sky. And treeless. Not a single branch.

Now, Diogo is the island and the island is Diogo. He has forgotten everything about the place he came from, it is stuff and nonsense in letters rolled inside of maps, letters which have curled the same way as his maps, so that he must pin them down at the corners with candlesticks and flasks, before losing heart, as he always must, our Diogo, and raising his eyes to the window, the small window of the boat he sleeps in, to monitor his island, for fear it should slide away into the night.

His island has a volcano, it is the widest and greyest thing he has ever seen. He suspects it is dormant, but still imagines it erupting should he ever leave, dissolving his island into lava and ocean floor like the sugar cubes in boiling water he is taking for the fever that came on him his second night. He will not leave its side, his island, the smallest on the archipelago, the most north-western. He is waiting for other boats, other men, to catch him up. His brow sweats, his belly swells. The moon is a dark thing in a darker sky.