Headwaters

by Margarita Engle
In the rain forest
we learn to identify trees
by their thorns

fever dream
my fear of evil spirits
no longer a secret

muddy trail
birds follow us
back to camp
where they take turns preening
in front of a mirror

while guides tell tales
of diamonds in gizzards
and a tribe of women
who descend from macaws.
Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of books about the island, most recently The Surrender Tree, forthcoming from Henry Holt & Co. in April, 2008.  The Poet Slave of Cuba (Henry Holt & Co., 2006) received many honors, including the Americas Award, presented at the Library of Congress.

© 2008, Margarita Engle