On our tour of the Rio Negro, while the boat
putters across its strong-tea waters
local guide, Diago adds colour commentary
in addition to the construction genius of a bridge
over 2 miles long with 246 supporting columns, he adds
that each month 24 people plummet to death from it
he describes first contact with Europeans,
how villagers leaped into currents to drown
terrified by the strange fevers of smallpox
Crack up and out, shake
fragments of egg off the face.
use the largest shells as backbone,
as home. creep across dank, damp sands
to undulating ebb of rip current and flow along
swift Atlantic gulf stream. reptile devouring sea
urchins and jellyfish, swim expertly, gain strength.
witness an unquenchable ocean swallowing endless
blood-orange days. after lost years at sea, answer
compulsion to procreate. propel swiftly, migrate
to natal shores. emerge a neophyte, scraping
flippers across sand. excavate holes. lay
mounds billiard-sized eggs, precious
hatchlings, a banquet of beginnings
or predator’s feast. assemble
survivors, rinse off death
splatter and repeat.
collector of eggs
for aphrodisiac or
poached for musky
aftertaste. fisheries by-
catch, tangled in gear
and ropes. captured
by floating debris.
eat plastic bags.
we have bitten the lips of the divine by Su Rogers