The bone-crushing pain
of turning into a jaguar:
palpable in the shaman’s
cleft head carved in basalt

or jade; in his downturned
squared-off open mouth;
lips stretched and dilated
in birthing, in a scream.

Try to imagine yourself
crossing from one world
of pain into another, the quiet
needed to summon the fury

needed to catapult you over.
For the umpteenth time,
until entranced, I trace over
a talismanic cascade of spirals

copied from an old book.
Images smuggled out
from the border, TV loops,
stream into my closed eyes.

In no other world but this
we watch as mother is again
and again torn from child,
no glyph known for repair.