From Susan Harbage Page’s photograph “Laredo Riverbank With Cross.”
A cross in the act of falling apart,
one broken twig stuck upright in the dirt,
another across, its bark peeling off
like wounds on open arms,
one scrap of paper still attached,
words once written there
now bleached away.
A lonely riverbank,
and nothing but those two sticks
tied with a scavenged strip of plastic,
its soiled blue echoing
a glimpse of river water.
Other than that, the colors are muted
duns, yellows, no other sign of human life
except perhaps vanishing footsteps.
Perhaps other scraps were carried off
by wind, then water,
who knows how many they were,
what shreds of a family, what lone child
passed here and left this brief
The cross is del otro lado, on the northern
side of the forbidden river,
Gracias a Dios –it could be saying–
thank you, sweet Virgin, Virgencita
de Guadalupe, here we set our feet
on firm land again.
But so often people plant a cross
by a road where someone was shot,
by a railroad where someone has fallen,
by a river where someone has drowned.
Enriqueta Carrington is a Mexican poet, literary translator, and mathematician. She received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts as a translator. Her translations into English include five poetry collections by authors from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Israel. Her own poems in English and Spanish, as well as her translations, have appeared in Rattapallax, Blue Unicorn, 14 by 14, The New Formalist, The Society of Classical Poets Journal, Descant (Canada) and several other journals and anthologies. She is a member of the editorial committee of the poetry journal US1 Worksheets.