Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sometimes I think of all of these love letters stacked unread in my fingertips, waiting, and I worry that they will end up forgotten under floorboards and behind walls, still unread. Discovered only later, maybe, by a generation who has never heard the beating of my little bird heart. Like the cactus I saw in the desert, holding their blooms for moths that might never come.

There's this documentary about making a documentary in the Amazon that I watch all the time, where a local tribesman pulls an anaconda out of a hole by its tail. They tell the camera that the point of doing this is to relocate the anaconda somewhere where it is less likely to eat a cameraman and get itself killed, but really I think the point is to watch a man pull a giant snake out of a hole by its tail. It seems that the anaconda emits a scent that makes it hard to miss, and I wonder about the people living in those jungles in all the years before the cameras came, learning that that smell meant snake and that it was possible--even desirable--to forcibly remove it from where it had hidden. Like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, if rabbits ate jaguars.

I think about those lost Amazon tribes living among the snakes, not knowing they were lost until strangers showed up to tell them that they had been found.

And I think about how we are all sometimes, a little bit, a lost Amazon tribe waiting to be found by someone intrepid and not even realizing it. Looking for explorers who know only how to mangle our languages and customs but would like to learn why we tip our poison darts with rainbows scraped only from the reddest of frogs, how we pull magic snakes from thin air, what the names of our constellations are. Lost and foreign, but not unknowable.

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