When you deserted your military post,
you fled from India as a refugee,
then sailed — where else? — to Macao off the coast
of China, at the edge of the South China Sea.
At twenty-three, you’d made a perfect mess
of your life, reinventing ways to fail,
but the future would be much worse (did you guess?):
illness, enemies, poverty, even jail.
But, now, there is this momentary peace
four thousand miles from Lisbon and home,
where Camões once came to write his masterpiece,
some sonnets, but, most important, the epic poem,
and maybe on this beach, calm and serene,
he wrote, “Love is a fire that burns unseen.”