- That in three centuries, men have never surprised her,
- That the river tastes alive, that she can separate every raindrop that ever splashed into its bowl, can determine the origin of every sodium scented drip, that she can feel the stutter of the frog’s heartbeat upstream, sense the swift thrash of salmon tails, breathe the oxygen drenching their gills, force her slippery flesh down deep into the tangled riverbed,
- The voices of the Mayor and his men, twelve of them, like a jury, the youngest only thirteen, standing proud beside his father. She sees their whole lives past and present, as newborns and old men, catches the scent of their mother’s hands brushing through their hair as toddlers, hears their children chatting at their deathbed, the contemptuous clatter of their conversations as their fathers crumble into bone and dust,
- The churchyard that they dragged her through to cleanse her, the judgement bubbling from the hymns recited, the vicious rhythm of the priest’s tongue, the cold shock of the holy water, the excuses, the hatred cloaked in Sunday best, the silent God who bears the blame,
- The wooden board on her back, carved from a three-hundred-year-old elm, her limbs strapped tight across its trunk, the ridged surface that is rough beneath her fingers, that has absorbed so many deaths, that she can hear now; mothers, daughters, screaming under water. The forty-six who had succumbed, lungs stuffed vile with river water, throats choking with betrayal,
- The shock on their faces when they pull her up, expecting a body bloated by three hours of dirty water, the realisation that the board is empty now, the straps loose where they nailed her tight, the knowledge that she was stronger, that they cannot destroy everything they fear, that she is circling somewhere in the air around them, certain and imperceptible as the breath of birds, that she will continue, unbound and uncontrollable, that one day and forever she shall be heard.
Based out of Orlando, Katiana Robles is a multidisciplinary artist who sculpts, paints, and illustrates in a variety of media including some edible ones. Her work has been exhibited throughout Central Florida; most notably at Orlando City Hall, City Arts Factory, and Osceola Arts. To see more of her whimsical work follow her on Instagram @kat_robles.