We Will See

We will see
Peruvian Amazon, January 5, 2013

We drive from Puerto Maldonado
on dirt to Infierno
with bridges incomplete,
optimism measured in rebar and towers of concrete,
but yet no help to cross the creeks.
Big van tires tread over gapped worn planks.
Will they be there when we come back?
Says Julian, “We will see.”

In the wooden canoe sit a dozen of us and half again more,
luggage in back with 75 horsepower.
Captain stops mid-river and grabs another boat, adrift,
Rescues two ladies, 3 girls, and dreadlocked ecologist who fill our benches.
The story unfolds over days –
drunk captain, drunk passenger tipping boat, engine stopped and wouldn’t start.
Our rescuees come to Posada Amazonas for further help.
Drunks left in a canoe on the Amazon’s Tambopata river, at dusk –
We will see.

Mosquito nets and hurricane lamps,
Lights out at 9. Early to bed and up at 4.
Oxbow birds – stinky and Anis, striated heron and neotropical cormorant
White-throated toucan, and guan.
Piranhas, tiny sharp-toothed nimble to nibble the meat from our hooks.
Then, juices of copuasu, papaya, and sweet cucumber to eat.
Luis shinnies up and tosses down wild cacao fruit,
yellow skin, white jelly, says the seeds taste bad.
But I eat them, delicious, pure chocolate.
What is for lunch? We will see.

Dozens of scarlet Macaws flutter and peck up river bluff clay.
We see them from a blind, but not they.
A parade of leafcutter ants carrying green bits, and manager ants on their backs,
Loading the nest with food for the fungus they eat.
A tribe of monkeys – a second, a third – jumping through the jungle, cackling to each other.
The shaman’s farm, with ayahuasca and pari pari to make us stand up and wait.
A night walk with headlamps –what’s out there in the dark with the stars?
We will see.

At the farm, 2 women sit on the living room floor
2 feet above the hens and puppies.
And repair Stihl weedwhackers.
The rain clears and the husbands buzz the papaya field,
The first cash crop (after tourists) for a subsistence farm,
Bananas, sugar cane, rice and corn, peppers and pudding fruit/soursops
supplement the jungle foods.
How many of their 30 hectares will they use?
We will see.

Siblings by blood and marriage, nephew and niece,
we enjoy the adventure in animals, trees, water and land,
food and sights and deeds, and words – Please, just listen.
We are a family saga, a journey of love through many lives,
ours and those before.

Our threads are thin in geological time,
against the Andes’ crash and rise and exploding thrust,
the patient river swirling brown silt down Amazonian meanders.
But we weave a mighty rope.
Where will it end? Where will we?
We will see.

****

One thought on “We Will See

  1. Mike…this is a great poem…must have been a real adventure…with a real message distilled into this poem… Thank you!

    Reply

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