Will they remember, beyond the kaobab trees and toffee surging rivers,

coy sloths, fluorescent frogs, empress cockatoo,

dancing among rainbow toucans, spider monkeys, and sleek jaguars?


Will they remember,

the secret villages of the Kayopo, Awa, Caru, Akuntsu,

the Yanonomi, Koxinawa, and the Arewete?


Will they remember how this white man’s plague

spiked and killed again, rapacious

as the European diseases 600 years before?


Will they remember the measles, smallpox and flu

that wiped out millions upon millions of forest dwellers,

farmers, fishermen, shamans who had tended the land?


Will they remember how the forest, rivers, the cerrado

preserved the lungs of the earth, offered medicines to harvest

wise men whose knowledge passed generation to generations?


Will they remember how the rituals inhaling yakoana

drinking the bitter caapi vine juice, dancing rhythmically into trance

invited in the mysteries of xapii, of iwa, of the ancestor’s spirit world?


Will they remember the communal houses, the hammocks swinging

copper bright children diving with river porpoises,

the tarpaulin shacks of the dispossessed Guarani and Tikuna?


Will they remember the fierce tongues of fire, the smoke smudging the stars,

the fragile land cleared for soy and cattle,

the short life of rainforest soil bereft of its shallow-rooted trees?


Will they remember the Rio Negro’s treacherous cargo

carried from Manaus’ dug graves of the virus dead, São Paulo’s

rows after double rows likes bricks, between raised meridians of grass?


Will they remember the mud-slippery, crooked webs,

houses piled on each other in the favelas, Rocinha, Santa Teresa,

scrambling up hills beneath the benign arms of Christ the Redeemer?


Will they remember the City of God, the crowded buildings left to decay

order imposed from the fierce Pacifying Police Units

above the Ipanema Beach, above Rio’s glistening new highways?


Will they remember their president who changed parties like a chameleon

to woo the Cariocas, once arrested for his plan to bomb the army barracks,

judged by his own military to have “serious personality, professional deformation?”


Will they remember his imitation of the world’s worst leader,

the American swindler incapable of feeling, intellect or decency

who charted chaos to make his countrymen die and burn?