L_caputoby Lorraine Caputo18 Jun 2016

In the middle of nowhere on the plains,
early afternoon, sun strong. The heavy
breeze scuttles clouds white & grey across
the sky, leaves across the red-ochre earth.
Here I sit under the shade of mango trees
full of birdsong, watching chickens pecking
at sweet fallen fruit, iguanas & lizards scurrying,
prairie canaries & midnight-teal grackles bathing
in a pool of water, awaiting a ride to take me
across these llanos, towards the Río Orinoco.

Bleached blue skies
Puffs of clouds
Heat of mid-
Flat-flat land
Pale dry soil
Crowned Harpy
Eagle hunt
Arrow road
cracked & pocked
bloodied by
dead buzzards
Scrub-brush trees
pockets of
Solo homes
Wind strengthens
White herons
near scant ponds
Distant rain
falling on
southern hilled
Lakes more full
Young chamos
playing in
the red mud
& soon that
river comes
into view

Silted broader than the Big Muddy, the land on
either side flat, a golden dry-season beach
on the northern bank. Small rises, breasts of
verdant Mother. Late-afternoon sun weakened
by scattered rains silvers the river. A yellow barge
full of cars & trucks plows these earthen waters,
rippling waves lap against the hull. People stand
along the railings, watching the river glow,
talking, drinking. From a cooler on his bicycle cart,
a man sells beer & maltín. The sun emerges from
the clouds, a shifting shaft of golden light glinting
off the río as we near the other shore & the village
of Caicara.

* chamos — boys
* maltín — non-alcoholic malt beverage
* río — river

published in:

RED OCHRE LiT (October 2011)
“Venezuela Vignettes”
(a chapbook of 5 poems: Morning Tapestry; Mango Sunset; Towards the Río Orinoco; Landscape Serenade; Tempest)