“This one is better.” One man says.
The two men are in a store. The store is on the riverbank. In front of the store there is a pier. The pier stretches into the river. Two boats are tied, at the end of the pier. The river rises and falls, throughout the year. It is quiet now. The river is quiet. The air is early, yellow. Waders cut through the glass water with long rods and waterwell eyes, waders cut through the tall grass in green and yellow slickers, hunted moustaches, gator neck skin.
The dew breeze, forgotten in the urban street lights, doses—snores, puffs. Out of the yellow fog of the late spring, drip the bull frogs. The bull frogs boong—boong—boong.
No, it is winter. And that is the horn of the ship that drops the slaves into the southern town—the southern town that has unfree. In hours, the free will bang drums and urinate in the street until the bought and sold comes and goes like the ins and outs of the late night drunk rape.
Already, they have painted their skin. Already, they have hooded their children, locked their thin veiled homes and scurried through mud alleys, tailored to the unmaking: they are ready for the unmaking.
The horn sounds again.
“No. This one is better.” The other man says.
The two men are in a store. The store has flags and helmets and pictures of sun gods. The two men are looking at marbles. One marble is blue with green and white twirls. One marble is blue with white and green twirls.
“I wouldn’t imagine buying that one.” The first one says. He has walked toward the front of the store. He looks at the fog. His coat is long. His sleeves have bows. His hands are behind him, clasped.
“The ship has already landed on the other side—this early?”
The store owner nods. He is large, round in the middle, round in the head, round in the eyes. He polishes: silver, gold, silver, gold. When the store owner walks he shifts all his weight from foot to foot—he goes, like that, like that: side to side, down the street.
The unmaking has begun. There are whistles, on the other side. The painted families hoot and make themselves into the shapes of war kings.
“Oh, I don’t care. Buy which ever one you wish. We are late.” The first one says, at last. He has lost to stare. He squints--leans close to the window, and remembers, then, he will not breathe. If this fog does not clear we will not see, he thinks or mumbles: and scratches, here and there.
Sale is made: here and there.
The store owner is deliberate. He wraps the marble in cloth. He places the wrapped marble in a bag. He hands the bag to the man. The man holds the bag to his chest, shake hands, shake hands. It is made. He moves to the front of the store.
"Ah, friend, it is still early. It will clear,” he whispers.
“I suppose you are right.” The man says and looks at his friend. The hoots on the far side begin to grow loud across the concrete mirrored water—the gathered families on the shores, on this side, see the faces they have brought.
Already, blankets are spread and wine is uncorked. The two men make their way to the shore. The sun, the yellow sun begins to come with her horses. The howls begin to tease shrieks, turn and tease the shrieks. One man, it seems, has already been unmade.
The two men squat next to wives of women and toast with wine. I think I bought the wrong marble, one man thinks.