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After Avatar

“They seem to float in a cosmic dance above a luminous garden of waving shapes. Tiny purple fish swirl around them. Their hands come together, fingers twining, as they float weightlessly, as if between worlds.”
– James Cameron, Avatar Screenplay
 
 
After Avatar, we talk about James Cameron. We
          haven’t watched Titanic together, but we both agree
the romance is excessive. You mention
          Arnold Schwarzenegger. I haven’t seen
The Terminator, but I do pay attention to your eyelid’s
 
          motions. They move like the monstrous moths
we avoided in the Amazon. Near the Tiputini River, and amongst
          lands of untouched ground, we slept inside floating
cabins. We bathed in Ecuadorian soap and did not
          use the bed sheets when we napped. They warned us not
to turn on our light bulb at night. But you misplaced your
          glasses. We switched the light on, and moths swarmed
in. We first heard them bumping against the wooden walls. Listen.
          Our cabin shook. The moths found the crack under the door.
You pulled the white bed sheets on top of us, Get in, quickly, and, like ghosts,
          we slept under our sheets that night. I remember the sudden
thuds on my nose and lips.
 
In Avatar, when James Sullivan and the Na’vi woman stand
          in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by neon lights
and sexual tension, I whined. In Ecuador, we stood under
          the equatorial sphere. Together, we pointed at
Orion. Look, there’s Betelgeuse. Four brown ants fell on your index finger.
          You blew them away but they didn’t leave. The guide asked us to turn
off our flashlights. I hesitated. You told me the tarantula we discovered
          earlier wouldn’t come after me. When the light died, I heard
my heart beat in the shape of bugs, birds, and bodies.
          The jungle was in our ears. Listen. You grabbed my hand
and the ants traveled to my skin. I remember the thuds on the web
          between my fingers. The Amazon was a part of us.
I saw our world with closed eyes.
 
 
 

Ana Hurtado is a candidate at Iowa State University's MFA program in Creative Writing & Environment, where she teaches composition & rhetoric courses and works as the Creative Director for Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. Ana was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, and grew up in Quito, Ecuador; she is bilingual and writes fiction and poetry both in English and Spanish. Her poetry is forthcoming in Word Riot.