Meeting Mountain Gorillas

 Mountain Gorillas_ Rugabo 1

The mist rises
across this high valley
where dark shapes
loom through the wet light
like something glimpsed
at the eye’s edge.
Mountain Gorillas_Rugabo 2
An afternoon with mountain gorillas. I’m in the Virungas, eastern Congo. We’ve been pushing through thick wet forest for some hours when the tracker motions us to stop. We drop to the soaked earth, courtiers before the mountain’s king. A kind of recognition stirs in our eyes, his older than this forest, mine renewed by the moment.

A few years later I read of the destruction of this family, a tiny tragedy in the story of this region.

Shaking off the Dust

Scanning the reports,
I find myself
ignoring the too human agonies,
alighting, cornered on an inside page,
on news more distant yet closer than
shocked journeys of the dispossessed.

The name is there — Rugabo’s group.
A tinier tragedy perhaps,
but one closer to my understanding.

Maybe a loss of something
however briefly known
more clearly shows
how passed roads close.

Mountain Gorillas 5


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