The study group pushes ahead toward the
swinging bridge maintained by the indigenous
tribes along the river but I drag my feet, watching
the tall boy in the shadows of his open roofed
dwelling. He pulls the iguana from beneath
his thin muscle shirt with the faded USA logo,
smiles shyly. Begins to explain how the lizard
likes the skin to skin warmth, the winter chill
in these Andean jungles being felt by both iguana
and boy, though it’s only dipped to some fifty degrees.
Slowly, he shows me around where he keeps it
tied in the yard while he hunts firewood, not trusting
a female to stay close. Already, its wilier wilder
kin skitter up the support poles to clamber across
thatched roofs, slide down the veranda posts.
Above the river I hear the group’s shouts as the wind
rises, rippling the rope bridge under hand and foot.
The boy listens, giggles, points toward the opening
in the trees, puzzled as to why anyone would want to
stand mid-bridge, even as we scoop bits of lettuce
and mango into a small pan to save as food for later.
He places the iguana on the ground now, and loops
frayed rope gently around her neck. Pegs her down
and switches to dialects of reassurance as she blinks
her eyes slowly. Straightens then, flashes a wide smile.
Vanishes swiftly into the forest, his waving hand a leaf.
By Pat Anthony
To read more of Pat Anthony’s poems please visit middlecreekcurrents.