Monday, 19 June 2006

Street vendor

Please stand perfectly still. This is so I can watch the wind move the yellow spaghetti strap over your shoulder, threaten to take away that ribbon of shadow and bare your skin completely. It is simple. The velvet waterfall erupts from your waist, cascading silver rings, their bellies forever plunging, violet landscape pooling all around them like a royal wound. If you don’t move I can pretend you are alive in feeling the tickle of cool breeze over your stomach when the thin fabric of your shirt ripples – tiny waves that never reach the shore. The lips of your shirt and pants just touch, soft cotton kisses. When the wind parts the lovers it reveals a sliver of the skin just above your hips. Even here you are one shade deeper than honey brown. The summer streaks up and down your uncombed hair, which is half way to dread and exploding from the back of your long head scarf. Sheer turquoise, gold paisley dancers crunched up where you’ve tied the knot.
OK, breathe. The scene will go on without me. You’ll shuffle over to the cartoonist, who sits glumly next to his sketch of a huge-cheeked Saddam Hussein. Later you’ll mingle with the silk thistle sellers, as they wrap up plastic thorns for Americans in their ultra white sneakers and striped t-shirts. Sometime tomorrow morning you’ll sit down in the middle of the sidewalk, a flesh centre between your stall and the whisky store. Right foot tucked underneath you, you’ll hug your left knee, rest your temple there and look down the Mile. Not blinking. Not moving. The sky will be so grey and you’ll look so sad that I’ll wish you would get up and dance, just so I could believe again in the gentle friction of your limbs through the air.

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