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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Recent Fave

In Biruté's Camp

Suppose God is looking for a good
piece, who could be you with that bare
strip of scalp parting your long hair,
braided loose and looped up in the swamp heat,
sweat curling around your small, bristly eyebrows,
your hands gleaming with juice and pulp
as you hammer fruit on the feeding platform.

That strange orangutan,
the human-raised one called Pan-gan,
who throws men off the dock
like an overzealous baptizer, may
be a god and here he comes
padding side to side onto your platform in the swamp.
If he curves the ridiculous length of his
tendon-riddledarms around your waist
and wrestles you down to the wooden boards,
scream–he'sbitingyouhe'stryingtokillyou–no,
he's pushing up your skirt–

become limp below the waist and make your torso
a flexible branch for him to squeeze
as he swivels from one world to the next;
(now he is very calm and deliberate,

now his eyes roll upward)

When he finally moves off
the feeding platform and into the trees,
rise into this loss, which is relief:
his seed will shimmer out of you, unrecognized.

from Maria Melendez's How Long She'll Last in This World

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