Chapare

Still digesting lunch’s red bananas and citron,
having avoided poisonous ants on the long hike,
I lean over the piranhas of the Chapare River,
drape my hand in water as the boat speeds on.
We pass by a ruined bridge, and along shore,
women washing clothes, their faces taut as wire
reflected in muddy mirrors. At night we hunt jaguars,
drink, sleep on the roof under heavy nets.
Once a cab with a mother and child,
legs slung out the open back, nearly touching the road,
hauls us into town to buy coca leaves and dance.
In the morning: coffee before another hike,
fishing with children in Nikes, as workers in La Paz strike,
readying for wars that never come.

Kevin J.B. O’Connor received his MFA from Old Dominion University, and will start a PhD in English program at University of Kentucky in the fall. He has published poetry in numerous journals, including Bayou Magazine, Glassworks, Flare: The Flagler Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, and Visions International.

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