Late Comers

A poem from Nomad’s End, published by Finishing Line Press, 2010.

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What logic is in the spray of water
on our faces as the speed boat takes us to shore
in the late September evening. Our crew
moves along volcanic wreckage—a cast-iron skillet
melted and covering the land with a thick, black sheath.
Retracing Darwin’s steps, we encounter
marine iguanas creeping out of the tide
on inch-legs, sunning the skin of their necks,
as two wide winged albatrosses fence
with long beaks. As they dance, we search
for proof, follow footprints to the cliff
where the balloon-throated frigate bird blooms
in red love. We stumble upon two tortoises
mating in the forest under the ground cover
green and thick with storm-tossed debris.
They sing praise for 200 years of love. They know
what late-comers we are to this world, amateurs
attempting logic, dance, reproduction.
We’re just spectators, ruffling in the leaves,
horsing around, standing hitched
and still on this earth.