“He Cuts the Engine to Show Us the First One” by Christina Butcher

17 crosses on the river & he cuts the engine to show us the first one

proud fisherman-turned-tour guide

 

who earlier this morning hoisted a rope,

slick & wet, from the water

 

one end tied to the platform

the other to a net

swollen with oysters.

 

The moon was still out & the boat tilted as everyone leaned over its side,

port. please, teach me, I hear myself say

 

Obrigada.”

 

Silvio’s words return to me like waves,

lapping against the edges of my third eye.

 

Boat.

 

“Say it as if there is no obligation.”

 

“Schto mutu grata,”

Silvio, I fall in love with men like you.

 

But this morning, under this moon on this water,

(which admittedly is all water & all moons)

I count cruceiros, Rio Ulla, no time for love.

 

I let the river enter me } open mouth rolling language.

Vien del mar de Arousa,

nosotros navigamos

para Pontesecures.

No tomorrow.

 

Only forward momentum:

Translatio:

 

a body transported over sea

in a stone boat, Palestine to Pedron

& back again to

 

Obrigada.

 

Here, a body becomes reliquary.

Houses fruit like gold

 

saltwater on its lips.

 

Christina Butcher is a Chicana poet, publisher and veteran from New Mexico. Christina also works with Write253, serving as a teaching artist and event coordinator for the annual teen poetry slam, Louder Than A Bomb – Tacoma. She’s passionate about language and culture, storytelling, and community involvement.