The Songs of Camoapa

Dusk deep enough for the thin moon to plead Look! look!.
A salt of stars echo with their white Wink, wink.
Vroom, vroom goes the ancient taxi down the cobbled hill.
Sweet, sweet, sobs the bird in the mango tree.

The plantains in the fry pan spatter Spit, spit.
Good red beans and rice beckon Feed, feed.
Chruk, chruk, the scrawny chickens peck underfoot.
The bird in the mango tree shrills Sweet, sweet.

The barn cat in heat stalks the alley–Yowl, yowl.
Lurch, lurch, sways the truck up to the work site.
The bones in my back whimper Ugh, ugh.
Sweet, sweet, sighs the bird in the mango tree.

The saw bites the plank in two directions–Ta-co, Ta-co.
Crunch. Crunch, mutter shovels heaving gravel,
then Swish, swish, as the water makes cement.
Sweet, sweet, calls the bird in the mango tree.

The hammers on the nails pound pom-pom, pom-pom.
Cock-a-roo-roo declares the rooster on the hill.
Rattle, rattle, rattle, fume the wind-dried palm fronds.
Sweet, sweet, sings the bird in the mango tree.

Hola, Hola, shout the children of Lomas de Cafen.
Water from the new well gushes Drink. Drink.
Gracias! Gracias! cry the women with their washing.
Sweet, sweet trills the bird in the mango tree.

Luci Shaw
Nicaragua, March, 2009

All poems are copyrighted by Luci Shaw.
To be reprinted only by permission of the author.