Erected Man

The horseman rides: he is unbound.

The long ships land: they are slim, iron. The sun is yellow and round and it is hot. The long ships slip into the crest beach. The men and women on the beach do not wear clothes. They have burned eyes—deep into the long ago: the ancient come and go of the up and down. They do not believe.

‘They are dead.’

The soldier is captain of the long ships. He has scars on his cheeks, hints. He walks the planks to the beach. He walks from the long ships. Slaves, in rows below the deck of the long ship, look: the men and women on the beach do not look alive.

It is desert. The stagnant burned do not blink. The dead do not blink. The sun is yellow and round and hot and is on and off the flat water. The long ship men soften, turn to pinks. Insects climb from the sand, onto the iron legs of the men.

‘They are dead.’

It is desert. The soldier erects a man. The man has gold hair, bracelets on his wrists, pierces across his chest. His eyes are allowed the hallowed stare to the sun. The man is taut, thin—skin like the low tide sand. The soldier erects his hands, high, above his head.

‘This home has a god.’ The soldier says.

The men and women on the beach do not move. They hold spears, stand in straight lines—lines like the tall trees in the mainland green. They do not look alive. They do not believe. The painted lines on the muscles is the white and blue of the faithless: marked by the no-god.

It is methodical in the desert. Now, the beach is landed. Long ships slide into the shore. Soldiers: birthed out of the narrow iron slips. The soldiers stare at the obsolete faithed, the unmoving languid squid skin: they are without hope.

‘We have erected man.’ The soldier says. The chained slaves do not stir, stare, from the thin holes in the long ships.

The blank, lifeless mud-hut children are bought—for the price of the erected. The children are borrowed, bound. This life: this slaved life.

They are dead.


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