Indian Reservations

When Brazilians brought
the Amazon Indians down
to the boomtown carved
from a forest once wet
with waterdrops plipping
the cool cupped fronds,
raucous as birds crying
at the sight of monkeys
fleeing from yellow eyes
stalking the night, they
took them packed aboard
a bus, bright with paint
fresh from native plants,
bold in their plumage,
fierce with their spears,
to see the city's shiny
new museum wing display
where Amazon Indian life,
reproduced down to sticks
and feathers, shed light
on a future closing fast.
The Indians smiled while
the interpreter grasped
for straws; on the ride
back to their shadowland,
they shook their heads
at how Brazilians survive
with no stands of trees
for cover, and screams
of beasts about to die
wheeling in their brains,
the bad air and hot sun.
It was good to be home.

[First published in Left Bank]