Poems and Photos

Photographs and poems by Linda Rabben, ©2023​​​​​​​

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Geography Lesson
In memory of Chico Mendes

I try to turn kilometers into miles
to see how far I went
on the journey into the jungle.

The cool air there
descends from the Andes and moves
through the weave of the hammocks
that hang inside houses on stilts
standing naked in clearings.
and burned trees lie broken on red earth
below the clearing, near a narrow stream
where bright, astonishing butterflies
graze at the muddy edge.
                                     The sky
is a brilliant, brutal blue,
torn by fast-moving clouds.
Every forest now, even this northern
autumn-blazoned one, reminds me
of the jungle.
                                   I will walk there
forever, having planted its saplings
within me, to forest the barren
Brasilia of the heart.

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I wrote the following poem about a scene I witnessed there.

At the cattle fair
Of Saint Anne, the body
Lay quiet in blood; a fly
Walked on his brow.

His calm was contagious:
Nobody spoke, but circled
At a respectful distance.

At the other end
Of the fair cowboys
Rode hard, joking:
“Who did you kill today?”

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Photographs and poems by Linda Rabben, ©2023

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

P.O. Box 2436 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 • 405.843.5113 • info@appliedanthro.org