August 2, 2005

Between Astounding Vistas

I arrive from an astounding vista,
Behind a tall curlyheaded prince
Who carries a gleaming spear.
No, that’s just his radio antenna.

Other things sparkle and gleam here too:
The people’s teeth, with their star or initials-in-gold inlay
And rubber boots, slick with mud.

¡Buena’! we call to the children who stare, silent
From thatched houses that go up in two days.
The pet love-birds answer us though.

We dismount and tie our beasts to a post.
The animal life here is as abundant as the plant life
Of the neighboring jungle, though not as verdant.

Dog skeletons walk around scavenging what they can
And wear scars of scolding scalding oil on their flea-bitten coats
From the woman who guards and never leaves her wood burning adobe stove.

She serves me cuajada, cheese from the cows, and rice with beans
But I sometimes swallow only my appetite as bald
Ugly chickens with occasional sparse feathers “cheep” by my feet.

Slingshots hang, alongside names written in charcoal
On the boards of this minifalda home, to shoot down mangoes.
Curly wire from an old notebook, too, for some future use.

The rain passes, the cows arrive, we tie one still,
I collect some blood, give my tests, mark her
Thank the jefe, bossman, mount again and ride off
Into another astonishing vista.

No comments: