“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




Silvio’s words return to me like waves,

lapping against the edges of my third eye.




“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:



a body transported over sea

in a stone boat, Palestine to Pedron

& back again to




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.