They stabbed the earth with “no swimming”


signs, hunted the caimanes to extinction,


made boots for themselves, belts to whip


our children. We’ve been renamed,


lost in the web of a foreign alphabet.


Baptism leaves us thirsty and wanting.


They told us the Spanish for river is peligro


while casting nets and peeling rocks


from their sleep, impervious to the scream


of the currents, their ears attuned to the one-


faced god. Oxbowed, reshaped, separated


from the Mother, we call on the Churún,


find our way back to be reborn among silt


and sediment into runnel and brook, stream


and arroyo. Like the caimanes, we watch and wait,


tracking each of their movements listening


for the smallest vibration. They think we’re afraid.


In our language, fear is synonymous with freedom.