I follow the guide into the clearing,
leave the embryonic forest,
the green canopy, a quilt of shadow.
Blue butterflies as big as my hand
flit into the light. The ellipses
of scorched grass crackle underneath
our rubber boots. The noontime sun burns
in the sky, the air no longer burdened
with the weight of water, green vines
and dreams. Cows wander across
the yellowed grass. White egrets follow.
Saw-chewed stumps of grandmother ceibas
hide among the banana trees, the plantains.
Muy feo, I say. Y triste. So very ugly. And sad.
Es la verdad, our guide says, It’s the truth.
Pero la gente no puede comer los árboles.
But the people cannot eat the trees.
Suzanne Roberts is the author of four collections of poetry: Shameless (2007), Nothing to You (2008), Three Hours to Burn a Body (Cherry Grove Collections, 2011), and Plotting Temporality (forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press). She is also the author of a memoir, Almost Somewhere: 28 Days on the John Muir Trail (forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press). Suzanne holds degrees in biology and creative writing and a doctorate in literature and the environment from the University of Nevada-Reno. She currently lives in South Lake Tahoe, California where she teaches English at Lake Tahoe Community College and runs the visiting writers' series. For more information, please visit her website at www.suzanneroberts.org