Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

Fishing Boats, Yangtze

 

First published in The Tishman Review, July 2017

 

The woman ties knots

sitting on an overturned bucket

beneath the canvas canopy.

The man steadies the rudder.

He squints at the silty water

and smokes. The motor chugs

its oily stench. Sometimes a child

peers up at us, our cameras.

How strange we are.   

 

The fishermen’s concrete villages

are clamped onto the steep slopes

of the flooded Seven Gorges.

Wooden steps scrabble down

hundreds of feet to the edge

of the Yangtze.

 

Last night

from the deck of our muscular ship

we saw the orange moon rise

and sit there.

The photograph is foolish –

a pinprick of light in a sea of black –  

the wrong subject.

 

For days we drift along the surface

with our light luggage of wonder,            

our prearranged questions                       

slowly refocusing as a lens does

from subject to field

until what matters most is this

blurred background of tenderness

for the envoys of our common world.                  

Here:  the fishermen’s daughters

crouch on the shore barefoot

among the woven baskets,

their black hair spilling forward

as they wring out the day’s laundry

in the lapping brown waters.

 

 

 

Marg Walker lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she pursues an abiding interest in the human voice through poetry, creative nonfiction, and choral music. Her work has appeared recently in The Tishman Review, The Stray Branch, By&By, Wilderness House Review, and other literary journals.