Galapagos Poems, by Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Galapagos Poems, by Sally Bliumis-Dunn


Their willowy necks / stir the pond’s bottom / as though drawing in slow motion // like Japanese monks / in Zen gardens who rake / sand, heads bent. // The birds step deliberately, / their dark legs, stems / of pink chrysanthemums.

– “Flamingos”

The trick, when writing about the world, is not to pretend we have no subjective point of view, but to localize in that intrinsic bias a source of light. Here is Bliumis-Dunn’s delicately focused travelogue of the storied Galapagos Islands, where the locals are octopi, crabs, lizards; and the observer is humble, ever cognizant of the layered meanings she brings with her to this magical seascape.


Massive and black 
the frigate birds, 
on brambles in the distance. 
Their bright red gular sacs, 
full as spinnaker sails 
billow from their feathers, 

like giant hearts of skin and air. 
They remind us of our own 

hearts, oversized and awkward, 
quivering in the lightest wind.