For today’s Poetry Month prompt, NAPOWRIMO suggested we look to the skies. So I tried to mix in a little bit of travel writing with it. Hopefully it turned out.
I couldn’t find Orion’s belt when I sat on the beach of South Water Caye.
Instead we slid our toes into sand and looked below for the barracuda and starfish.
We glided only feet above the coral reef and the diverse life that thrived there.
I looked up as we left the island to see an eagle ray leaping in our wake.
I couldn’t see Orion’s belt through the branches of leafy trees
or through the hard rain that fell in the jungle near San Ignacio.
Our eyes darted from ground to bushes, and up tree trunks into the canopy.
Each time they were distracted by patterned insects and vibrant orchids.
The hoarse heart-groan of howler monkeys in the distance, made us jump
as the five pm sunset settled into the damp earth.
Orion’s belt still was absent when we sat atop a temple at Xunantunich,
imagining the distant bustle of Mayans in the once paved squares.
A multitude of knowledge all but lost in secrecy and overgrowth.
They would have been lighting fires now, perhaps to ward off the jaguars,
to cook, or maybe to gather around to tell their own myths–
explanations for how the world works. Did they ever discuss the Hunter?
I could not see Orion’s belt that May.
In a land where industrial lights were minimal
and the opportunity to observe without technology but with my own senses was the goal.
I wondered if the Archer had stayed home while I, for once, found adventure.