The Sea Turtle Camp

Separated from the country town
Of San Francisco de Coyote
By half a day’s sweaty tramp,
Past the farms and jungle roads,
You will find the sea turtle camp.

Here I lived in a tent made of driftwood
With every kind of bird and beast.
A bucket to haul up the well water
And rice and beans for every feast.
Nestled into the dune grass,
On that tropical Pacific shore
Where tables made of pitted stone
Resound the ocean’s mighty roar.

And every night before my wooden staff
The estuary waters would part,
To let me and my followers
Into the sacred beaches’ heart.
There, across the moonlit sand,
I sweated with the mangroves
For the turtles under my care,
Quick to catch a poacher’s light
Or a Jaguarundi’s stare.
Every night we worked together
Alongside the frothing, lilting, living sea,
Witnessing so many sea turtle mothers giving birth,

That I could die happily.