Freycinet smuggled his wife aboard ship

disguised as his cabin boy

until they were far enough for shore

that she could not be offloaded.


Only then did she dress

as women did.

Only then did she live

as women seldom did.


They travelled far

to places beyond known maps

camped on new-found shores

as they explored

as botanists collected

as animals emerged

as birds appeared

as artists drew


She’s there

on the edge of the painting

to the right, with Freycinet

outside their tent,


The book of the Expedition,

includes the painting.

There’s the shore.

There are the tents.

There is the gentle slope to shore.

But she is gone –

removed from history

by a stroke of paint.