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Altos de Chavon

by Maggie Dietz


Light crested as the leaves moved from
green to green, like breathing.

From the roof: jungle, cane and sea
moved to the rhythms of wind, sickle
and tide—various bodies.

None more naked than the pink,
transparent lizards whose entire workings—
gut, muscle and vein—were visible to
the naked eye as they climbed the walls
visible through them.

Evenings, music and the hard-
working moon—so many chinks and spaces
through which to make patterns.

Bodies moved together in patterns
toward nakedness.

Beneath us, the cats brawled, fucked,
and cried like babies, cried so high and deep
the music couldn’t drown them out.

Now and then, a mango fell with a thud
or a giant moth made shapes against the flames.

The elements were welcome. Not one
thing did not hunger to be changed.
The heat ran like a river between us all.


Maggie Dietz is the 2002-03 George Bennett Fellow at Philips Exeter Academy. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Greensboro Review, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. For five years she directed the national Favorite Poem Project and is co-editor of the anthologies Americans’ Favorite Poems and Poems to Read (W.W. Norton 1999 and 2002, respectively). (5/03)

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