We unload his backpack together— outdoors,

in our back yard, because everything is muddy.

He takes his first shower with the hose, forgetting

neighbors. Clay sluices down his tanned shoulders.

while he talks non-stop about the man

famous sertanista, wilderness explorer in the Amazon,

protector of tribes who don’t know of the modern world.

He tells me this tribe has killed many white men,

but his guide is respected, and does not try to help

them by luring them from the forests to towns

where they will be infected by alcoholism

and prostitution, traditional ways destroyed

by priests and corporations. He says white men

killed millions of Indians, and enslaved others

for rubber, gold, timber. After he’s washed every crevice

and I’ve hosed his pack and let it soak with a splash

of Lysol, we lay down under the fan, cool sheets

beneath us, doors and windows locked. Naked,

like the Indians of Javari Valley, who are always.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, certified sex therapist, writing coach and seminar leader. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam, and her work has appeared in Potomac Review, Babel Fruit Journal, Permafrost, Slipstream, Timber Creek Review, Writer's Digest Magazine, The Fourth River, the minnesota review, Persimmon Tree, Personal Journaling, andPlaygirl. Her chapbook Mom's Little Destruction
Book was runner-up in the Permafrost contest.

While writing a daily poem, I wanted to step outside my usual autobiographical poems. Reading THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE AND NATURE WRITING 2006, edited by Brian Greene and Tim Folger, I came across this article, which lingered and influenced this poem.
Information from other articles found their way into other poems.



Copyright 2009