by Rose Mary Boehm

When the dog’s front half disappeared
under a heap of soggy leaves, I kicked
away that mix of rotting vegetable matter
and saw it. Man, I smelled it. It made
curious humming noises and something like
the sound bubbles make when they burst.

Decomposition, they call it. When the dog
had calmed, we just stood there under the giant
ferns. From the nearest kapok hung a termite
nest like a tumorous growth as large as a backpack.

Flesh had again become part of the earth. No CSI
in Amazonia, no cell phone connection, no 911.
Man or beast, who cares.
Just matter to be reabsorbed.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In the rainforests of the Amazon and its tributaries, nature can’t be controlled. It gives and takes away. Here one understands that death and life will forever be united in their interdependence.

IMAGE: “Rain Forest, Peru” by Aidan Moran. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection published in 2011 in the UK, Tangents, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), was semi-finalist in the Naugatuck poetry contest 2012/13, and has been a finalist in several GR contests, winning it in October 2014.