Christina Hutchins

Make of my elbows small pebbles rolling

the river bottom, a fierce and pummeling sweep.

If you will, build of my limbs and trunk

the supple breast and weight of the water.

Of my hands, eels, my ears

twin leeches sucking sound,

already these feet are two swift fish

flicking the shadowed pull of current.

Of eyes and mouth, shape glints and echoes,

sunlight and voices under the bridge.

If you can make of me waterís muscle,

then perhaps you can float:

lay your head where the shoulder of the river rounds,

where the heft of it bends and pools,

hear a riverís shifting joints and taste summer

licked from the lips of a swimmer.

Be sure to tell all the tales—laughter and the drownings—

what I have taken and what I leave behind:

whole lives, wide banks strewn with smooth stones,

the yellow foam of pollen painting the shore.

Christina Hutchinsí poems appear in Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, The Missouri Review, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and The Womenís Review of Books. Her first collection, The Stranger Dissolves, (includes "The Poet to Her Poem") was published in March 2011 by Sixteen Rivers Press, and her most recent chapbook, Radiantly We Inhabit the Air (Seven Kitchens Press, January 2011), won the Robin Becker Prize. Other awards include the The Missouri Review 2010 Editorsí Prize, the 2010 Annie Finch Prize of The National Poetry Review, the James Phelan Poetry Prize and two Barbara Deming Awards for Poetry. Hutchins holds degrees from University of California, Harvard University and Graduate Theological Union, and her academic essays appear in volumes by Ashgate, Columbia University Press, and Fordham University Press. She teaches the philosophy and poetry to graduate students at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and serves as the first poet laureate of Albany, California.

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