The Vine

She wound invisible tendrils around us,
uprooted and pulled us in aeroplanes 
across the Atlantic, the Pacific, North America.
From Iquitos she took us by bus then boat.
In a trance we marched through knee deep mud 
into the belly of the Amazon basin, where 
Shipibo maestras: Ines, Anita, Maria, 
Rosita rinsed us with flower water. 

At night she incubated us in the Maloka
where we lay like insects and pulsed as one.
The plant-infused maestros sang their ikaros,
each song entwining in the others, 
spiraling up to the vast conical ceiling 
of wood and leaves, fused in darkness 
with the rising chorus of crickets, frogs, birds. 

She put her mouth to the crown of my head, 
sucked out the weight and coughed it up. 
When the past floated, like scum and rose petals, 
Ilias blew it away in a puff of mapacho smoke.
I rippled under the breeze of his breath.

When fear came for me, a grey spiked thing 
that hummed and quivered in my ear
I looked it in the face and it blossomed 
into flowers, turning every colour all at once. 

With thanks to Quarryman where this poem was first published.

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