Calls of Birds We Cannot See ~ Peggy Shumaker


Sunlight through red veins 

of coleus.  Your palm 

dawns on me.


                                                             Corrugated hailstorms–

                                                             metal roof, earthquake

                                                            of ten-pound iguanas.


Shy thicket bird, ancient

tinamu steps out

among newcomers.

Honor flows both ways.


                                                           Three agouti bow

                                                           to the rushing stream.

                                                           Far cries of howler monkeys

                                                           turn our heads.


Towering stand–

giant bamboo

tonks and groans,

arthritic pirate ship

overladen with lost

dreams, bones.


                                                                     Birds we most desire

                                                                     se vuelve, se fué.


 Tiny black frog

 Ramón delicately sets

 on a stump–bright green

 markings, our innocence.


                                                                      Snakes, bats, a lost

                                                                      fanny pack, zipping

                                                                      heights, steep downhill

                                                                      hike, the dead sure

                                                                      bite of all we fear.


Prim British lay-dee

with perfect posture,

wizened pair of marimba

players, six mallets

bouncing out El Rancho

Grande.  The guitarist’s

wink.  A widow,

this dancer.  Her vow

never to sit out

another baile.