Fighting a hangover, I hire a car
to get us to Garajonay, the laurel rainforest
at the top of the island. We twist,
in endless spirals, from the hibiscus
of the hotel’s Eden, to the date palms
of the lower slopes and on, in corkscrew
motion, beyond the dusty cactus zone
to the clouds.

The corners of my eyes are sending
alarm signals about a road falling away
on either side to mist-snagged ravines,
and I think about the Lanzarote wine
we drank last night, with a yellow griffin
on its label. The higher we go, the more
the brume descends, so that I can barely
see the hairpin bends spinning out
before me.

The woods are dark and deep, the road zig-
zags through them. At last we stop to peer
down, through a cold haze, at the layered
terraces and stone walls of the Valle Gran Rey.
Is that where the giant lizards live? As if
in answer, a small blue chaffinch hops
onto the path before us, seems to want us
to follow.

You press on to the hikers’ bodega,
where warming coffee waits, but I’m a
captive of the pinzon azul—I agree to go with
him, to be a small ball of blue clinging to the
spindly arms of mountain laurel and pine,
to lie in the musky damp and look up
at the flamboyant trees vaulting
above my head.

I want to hear the shepherds’ echoing whistles
as they talk to each other across the valleys,
to drink my volcanic wine and pirouette,
with my yellow griffin and my giant lizard
on the floor of a laurisilva forest on the edge
of a white-bearded ravine, five thousand feet
above sea level.