In the Rainforest

What silent sound

in the gray and green

of the path?

What breath beside

this waiting ear?

Which green dream

of walking palms

wild ginger

fingered ferns

trailing ficus?

Which memory

in the long bone

of this spine

plucked the harp string

of this neck

and, unthinking,

she turned her head

in time

to see.

No, not possible, he said,

maybe a bird.

No, she insists:

four legs, this tall,

white, sleek, elusive.

What does it mean, she wonders,

when someone crosses your path,

emerging from the untrod,

present just long enough

to appear

and melting, then, back

into formless memory?

White jaguar spirit

or pale deer

or trackless puma

of the forest

and its filtered light

its floor of rain-slick mud and crawling roots

its curtains of shadow

its warm wetness—

She walks on,

hopes the mystery remains unsolved,

holds the beast in her heart.

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