Zipolite by Lorraine Caputo

Zipolite by Lorraine Caputo 
What is it with this place?
Why has it awakened my inner voice –
even before I arrived? …
This Place of the Dead …
Why do I feel quiet?
Why do I want
to quiet my Self
to the world of man around
to listen to the World of Mother?
All I hear
is the thundering surf
All I see
is the ocean
churning white, ripping the beach
carrying sand towards the far horizon
churning, ripping around
the cragged heaps of rock ….
My eyes
follow the butterflies among the triangular-box
spine-scalloped stems of cactus trees
My eyes
follow the cats among the drying scrub brush
My eyes
follow the slow passing naval ship
on this side of the horizon
My eyes
follow the nude bathers wading into that
churning, ripping ocean
I am hoping this Place of the Dead
won’t claim another
I am wondering why the hell
they enter those deadly waters
My mind answers:
An iguana
appears on the stone wall below
then disappears over the edge
A buzzard
flies high from the cliffs above the sea
its wide black zopilote wings
cast a shadow below
I wonder at
the force of these waves
the conflicting currents
ripping them apart, making them
slam into one another
I wonder at
my stillness in the face
in the place of death
– Zipolite
Zipolite –
The sea here is
Xonaxi Queculla
the destroyer
the goddess of Death
I watch her wild dance of the waves
I hear her wild angry, thundering voice
O, Mother Xonaxi Queculla
I shall respect your strength, your force here
I only ask
that you wash my feet, my ankles
with your warm, salty waters
Please, Mother Xonaxi Queculla
touch me gently, caress me
– Zipolite
Zipolite –
Even at the Bay of Love
upon the ancient humped volcanic flows
the waves rise, leaping over the rocks
towards the heavens
I wonder
how many forgotten lovers
have walked into these blue-green waters
foaming at the mouth of this bay
crushed upon the ragged rocks
tossed, pulled, ripped by the currents
flying towards the heavens
on the great white leaps of waves
salt spray falling, falling upon the crags
back into the sea
I found
the sole of a woman’s once-spike-heeled shoe
washed up on the rocks, lying amongst
the bleached shatters of shells
– Zipolite
… Zipolite …
Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in 18 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She journeys through Latin America with her faithful companion, Rocinante (that is, her knapsack), listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. Follow her travels at:  or