Faith and Fever – a poem by David Chorlton

Faith and Fever

Dengue fever floats along the river.
Capuchin monkeys and clouds alternate domination
in the canopy.
                      A caiman
opens wide his jaw to release
the spirits of the jacanas, basilisks, and anhinga
he has eaten. They drift across the water
and mingle on the far bank
                                             with the Morphos
blue as fragments of the sky
carried down by rain
that nails the forest to the earth
                                                       and drums
upon the heights the quetzal occupies
with green fire streaming from his back. His breast
is red as the mosquito’s swollen abdomen
in the green, green world where conquerors
                                                                           cut paths
through lianas, steam and epiphytes
finding it impossible among such foliage
to tell which leaf is God. 

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, who has grown into the desert climate and likes it. Visits to Costa Rica and the rainforest made a significant and vastly contrasting impression on him compared to his usual dry surroundings.

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