hunters’ camp at Nxai Pan by Joey De Jesus: A Poetry Recording

Joey De Jesus’s poem, “hunters’ camp at Nxai Pan” was the winner of LUMINA’s 2012 Poetry Contest judged by Carolyn Forché. Now, we are pleased to share that poem again in audio as part of our audio collection.

by Joey De Jesus

during the day, red Mars’ invisible weight bears down its rust on one
of the guides

on the day he is paid, he slips two copper coins into his mouth

and swallows the metal pula, which means rain in English.

a doctor might say, it stems from a deficiency.

on two separate occasions I’ve seen him swallow a handful of sand.
he crouched behind the all-terrain tires of a safari truck.

I imagine metal nails buried in his gut, gunpowdery pellets in his palm,
stomach bile of buttons and hairclips.

the other guides joke at the fortune he’s amassed,

say it’s because he’s Zimbabwean. one exile more with a handful
of bullets.

at night he is talkative rocks, zinc and copper. what do I know
about hunger?

he boasts at spotting leopards at dawn.

he boasts at firing a single shot into the trachea of a buffalo.

kaolite tongue–

three miles west, at the hunter’s secluded campsite, the cooks prepare
a dessert with ice wine.

white and purple paper lanterns hang
like the roan the guide has shot
for them.

hidden behind a blue plastic tarp,

the roan is bound between two acacias by its unfastened limbs

and knocks its broken neck against a stump in the breeze.


Joey De Jesus received his B.A. in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing from Oberlin College and his M.F.A. in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in LUMINA vols. X, XI, The Cortland Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Kin and Antiphon. He is a recipient of the 2012 Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His poems and videos have been installed at Harvestworks in New York City. His information and poetry can be found at

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