TOWARDS THE RIO ORINOCO

L_caputoby Lorraine Caputo18 Jun 2016

I.
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.

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


III.
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)
www.redochrelit.com