Though each will change its course in time,
rivers only briefly change direction.
This boat goes one way only.
Give the ferryman his coin—
the last you have,
red as evening-burnished water.

We’re moving now, upriver—west.
We follow the sun into gathering dark
on a far and silent shore.
Here there are no whys. Words fail.

The roar of diesel through the engines,
pitch and lash of water underfoot,
the ferryman’s whistle
to stop, dock, collect
another fare and carry on—

this is speech enough, and means:
this is not a homeward voyage.
These unplumbed tides run deep,
and we will ride them to the last place
where temples fear to lift their heads
and walls don’t dare contain
the spread of roots, sprawl of ferns,
or any other of the first things
ever to be given names.

About the Author

Christian Cacibauda is an itinerant poet and writer. A native of Reno, he was educated there at the University of Nevada, and at the Universidad del País Vasco, San Sebastián, Spain. His work has appeared in Red Rock Review, Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, West Trade Review, and is forthcoming from Mantis. He lives in Beijing.