April 29, 2010
A Poem From Hannah Sullivan Brown

Hannah Sullivan Brown is working on a Masters degree in English at IUPUI and lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two small children, who keep her on her toes.  

From Hannah: I chose this poem because the world around us is quickly turning green.  As spring and summer approach, I begin to feel that incredible life force reemerging from its winter slumber.  I wrote this poem based on time I spent volunteering in the Ecuadorian rainforest, a place of both overwhelming abundance and intense need. 

In the Jungle

Tena, Ecuador  

In the jungle everything is always eating everything else.  Sticky vines consume houses, idle buses, the garbage dump. I eat pizza at the tourist restaurant.  Rivers gulp expertly outfitted foreigners. The dollar ate the sucre in 2000. Now printers stuff the economy full of counterfeit currency.   

Once I saw a woman squirt breast milk into the mouth of a monkey.  The same day I dined on wild boar soup while the boar’s head stared from across the room—so we could see how fresh it was.  For dessert, we sucked sugarcane, sliced by machetes. 

In the jungle certain spiders don’t catch prey in webs; they chase and attack.  Sand flies suck blood from animal arms and legs.  Parasites enter all orifices or burrow into the soles of the feet to feed upon intestines.

Mud slurps tires flat.  Fog swallows vision.  Corruption divides politicians into bite-sized morsels.  Corn, cacao, and coffee eat the days of starving farmers.  Rain devours nights and the dreams that fill them, roads and the boots that walk them.      

Diarrhea eats small children and Texaco entire communities.  Termites down trees. Ants chip away at leaves that are full of a green so green it could only mean the fiercest desire to live.

The Indiana Humanities Council is posting poems on Think.Read.Talk. by Hoosier poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. Other Indiana celebrations include poetry readings at the Artsgarden (above the intersection of Illinois and Washington Streets, Indianapolis), performed each Monday at 12:15 p.m. For a schedule of events, click here.

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