Here it is, then: another message to you, sent from this wrought iron table under the dogwood where I sit writing. The birds are masters of solitude or concentration, or ninjas in disguise. They hurtle past, one after the other, intent on one thing at a time. What else would you like to know? I’ve told you about the secret name I was given in childhood to confuse the gods, so liberal with their gifts of illness and malaise; I’ve told you about the black sow my grandfather brought from his farm, a gift on my fifth birthday. I had just been discharged from nearly a month in the hospital— for what, I don’t really know, and cannot remember. They penned it up for the night in the unfinished bathroom, next to the also unfinished kitchen (I think it was being expanded). It kicked at the plywood slats all night and squealed, or bleated. Is that what you call the sound of an animal that knows it is going to be sacrificed in the morning? I didn’t see, but I could hear the men sharpening knives and starting a fire by the guava trees. I shut my ears and burrowed into the bedclothes. They were so happy I had been returned, that time had wrought its little miracles. What did I know, and who was I to say that such a feast was not in fact the payment required? I no longer burned with fevers. The purple eruptions on my lips were gone. The animal’s shirt of hair would be singed, its insides bled, its sacs of bile and pulsing liver hung up in the trees— dark garnets glinting among the leaves.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.