Guyana, November 18, 1978

Moving from predawn darkness
to unsettled evening
the day belonged to itself,
wind and rain flailing the trees into a muggy fury,
birthing a rattling wetness
smelling of earth and tears.

They had slept for much of the day,
weary from the madness
in which they were drowning.
At Kaituma, the river, blind and muddy brown
roiled toward an angry sea.

The bush on either side was thick
and full of eyes.
And the space they had cleared—
smashed with axes and the one small tractor,
throwing kerosene and matches at the wildness—
was filled now: crowded dorms and cottages on stilts
holding them above the fecund jungle.

The call came:
You must all gather at the pavilion.
It’s too late now,
the preacher said.
The Congressman is dead.
They’ll come to get the babies first.
To save them,
we must kill them.