Poecology

Issue 3

 

 
 

Janis E Rodgers

 

After a Map

 
 
             Kedougou Region, Senegal
 

Like treasure seekers she unfurls the scroll, we get down
on hands and knees, trace our fingers for miles—

through deep purple forests and glowing mountains, dashed
boundaries between the western Sahel’s rise to the foothills—

great expanse of phosphate orange, then a little green jewel
at the bottom, about to be swallowed by mines and bridges.

I hold in my hands a glossy country, satellite imagery marks
a national park, Niokolo-Koba, and where the Gambia arcs

down toward Guinea. We try to make sense of this—
three strikes in the earth where no gold appeared. Only 300

chimpanzees left here. She runs her fingers across the base
of mountains whose tops are destined to be blown off—

and stops at the Mandingue Plateau, where she’s found evidence—
nests, scat and pant-hoots— what the map fails to show us.