Rainforest in the Sleep Room

1

The highway goes through

The Amazon’s brain

like an ice pick through an eye-socket.

First we clear her synapses

then she forgets her animals.

2

Our bulldozers drive through

the rainbow boa of her cortex

like a scalpel –

those sleeping coils

still dreaming up new species.

3

hallucinations we’ve blitzed

with ECT.

The bilateral current purrs

through her frontal lobes

like a forest of songbirds

electrocuted by rain.

4

Afterwards, her thoughts are nestless,

except for a few chicks

up in the last ironwoods,

patrolled by armed guards.

Scientists climb ropes

to monitor her stats,

bring motherless macaws

down to incubators,

measuring their wings,

weighing naked souls,

5

as if she’s a patient

in the Sleep Room

who won’t wake –

her dreams treelines

traced by the EEG pen.

6

The only animals left

are grainy films

on camera traps

7

and a recording of the last

musician-wren

whose still small voice

is like the beginning of the world.

from Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), copyright © Pascale Petit 2017, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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