Peter Munro

Letter to Myself, Bahia des los Muertes

A frigate bird balances on heat
above sea and cactus.
Almost all wing and tail, the animal
sails like some prehistoric creature.
Vultures, pelicans, and frigate birds
all share the same updraft. On my back,
on the beach, I stare up into the gyring
flyers and see a gathering of ancient tribes:
carrion eaters, fishers, parasitic bullies
drifting their arcs of hunger
over the Bay of the Dead.

The glare from the desert hurts my eyes.
The Sea of Cortez is bluer than anything.

This morning I snorkled on a rock reef.
Parrot fish and angels fanned among coral-heads.
Out of the frightening blue
a school of slender fish with trumpets
for mouths emerged to counterpoint
sun that rippled down like sheets of rain.
Not recognizing the predator in me,
they sifted past like a cloud,
flowing close, splitting around me, fading
back to a wall of blue space
soundless as thought.

Something in my belly pulled after them.
I am fascinated by hunger
and the diets in this Bahia des los Muertes.
I control my fear
by naming what frightens me.
I miss you.

Copyright 1995, Peter Munro

Peter Munro is a biologist/mathematician with the National Marine Fisheries Service. His poetry has
appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Ontario Review, The Seattle Review, Four Quarters, The
Southern Poetry Review
, The Santa Barbara Review, and Chelsea. Over the Internet his poems
have appeared in CrossConnect, Snakeskin, and Blue Moon Review. "Letter to Myself, Bahia des
los Muertes" was first published in Ontario Review (O.R. Press, Inc., 1995), Spring/Summer 1995.

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