The title scrolls: the shadow of a plane,
wings slant: a blue eye on knot green,
a lid of silver, a deep pond,
an entrance into an underworld.

Cenote: a thumb hole in earth’s crust,
a labyrinth, a serpent of blue water threading sea
through limestone to this button-hole,
this back door to a mangrove swamp
where the red-throated frigate birds
soar over the beach like water-flies.

Back here, in the forest, photographers,
trucks bumping over the ant-scoured trails
beneath the dark lianas, ferns, and spines,
great hulking roots like mastodons,
deliver the diver with her cord,
her needle for the water’s eye.

Her errand is the rainbow come around,
a kind of fine embroidery
for which she is the needle, pulse,
or like the figures of a prayer.

Descending into the ancestors,
her neck, extended, is a probe
into the fluid mother’s lap,
a serpent herself, or a plumed bird,
a worm, a vein, a ligament.
It gathers her like a sacrament.

This poem “Cenote” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 214 (Autumn 2012): 14.

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