last night we dined in Prabis –
oysters from the mangrove swamps,
grilled fish from the green sea,
galinha de terra, ice cold Sagres
I remember the marineiros –
the old men who smoked too much,
and their stories, their memories –
we once hooked a huge serra,
must have weighed 40 pounds – too big
to bring aboard our tiny boat.
We let it drag us up and down the river,
almost to the sea, and hoped the line
would hold. The fish got tired before we did
and we hauled it alongside. Then took it
to my future father-in-law’s house
(who knew?) for cleaning and division.
There is an ancient lighthouse in Biombo –
at the far end of Prabis beach,
built by the Portuguese explorers
to help them navigate unknown terrain –
right where the river meets the sea –
an invisible line they needed light to see.
Prabis has lived long in our collective memories –
the mangrove swamps, the river, the sea.