The White Bull of Itaipu

Guinea hens chase a fluttering breeze; 
cutting over land, locked. 
Out of the Gran Chaco, 
I ride with the dying doctor and his lover. 
His blood is turning against him— 
he is tired and in pain.

We pass fiery roadside stands of chickens
browning on spits, and slow for the cooing
of dove-shaped breads in Doña Chinuka’s shop.

Township after township,
we follow an endless clothesline
attended to by bellbirds
pinning up dresses
worn thin in the prettiest places.

Broom sellers wave us along.
Later, they will fall sleeping,
sweaty in their shacks, dreaming their brooms
into rifles.

We hear it, and then we are there:
the dam wrestles a river
to light a continent.

The doctor squeezes a weeping syringe
into his own arm. He tips into us
and then to the ground.

His lover takes the flower from her hair
and begins to eat it.

Through the churning mist of the spillways,
I see him parading across tainter gates and concrete.

By a thin rope around his waist,
he leads a white bull, bellowing
for its master.

Published in The Adroit Journal, Issue Twenty-Eight