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A pink salmon drifting over dusk, his footprint in the mud

April 9, 2002
The Iranian

When the dance was over he took his flashlight to catch eels in the Gokase River. He was owner or the pachinko parlor, unshaven and flabby in his undervest and klean underwear, he said he was a widow and his former wife had come from Kerman, about 110 kilometers away. He held a thirst for vengence that he harbored in his toasted thighs - with tears in his eyes - to crush the turd - the stink of iniquity as soon as he could - to shat on her for eternity.

He left his door open in case she wanted something. Sitting pretty. Tangled in the stars. Shivering all the time. Shaking like a leaf. She was raving. It was high time she went home to Kerman covered with paisley hand-blocked printed cotton over her trunk.

She could hear the bamboo flute of Baba Taher in Hamadan in the park. Her poetry led her to white poppies in Shalamzar. Her uncle Yahya Khan had served chai wearing a mask by the edge of the Gonbade-jahelieh bath. He smoked blue poppies in a trance turning into a fish, puffy and bloated floating in the sky. A pink salmon drifting over dusk, his footprint in the mud.

We had nothing in common, he sighed to me. We could barely understand each other. International marriage is a tricky business. I wanted to go with her to catch eel. She wanted to play pachinko and write poetry. She liked to sleep in the doorway in the afternoon. She had a waterpipe that helped her vanish into the caravansara and pretend to be a white elephant. The real paradise was hard to come by.

When we first met in Kyushu we ate huge lumps of fatty chicken charred over a naked flame until the skin was blotchy black but the chicken inside was still pink and dripping and nearly raw.

We were once under the sea. We would look for fossilized shellfish in the hills. Volcanoes rose and dragged us into molton lava. We became burned bodies covered with ash. She was farting in the kitchen and I was hanging a mirror on the sacred sakaki tree.

When she caught sight of herself in the mirror, she crowed like a cock because she had become a white elephant covered with moss.

I found her in Ganj-Alikhan caravansara and begged her never to leave me again. She plucked out her fingernails and toenails and performed a lewd dance. This was to placate the Sun Goddess who liked to jab old men in the prick with a stick.

It did the trick. On an overcast day we decided to place offerings on the alter filling two bamboo flower vases with blue iris. On an old silver tray we placed pears and peaches, crumbling rice, sweets, purple pansies. We walked along a small grove of trees along a narrow path by a fast rock strewn river. We placed a rock in the cave as a prayer. Water dripped into the stone well. Yellow banners and white lanterns were hung on a wooden Tori gate with a bell.

She left me at the bus station which asked people to take home their empty beer cans. I bought her a portable word processor to play with. She let out an elephant cry.

I went back to the restaurant at half past ten in the morning and got drunk. The waitresses carried me to a taxi driver who grinned happily as he took me to the pachinko parlor anticipating an ancient rite.

She died on the road to Kerman hit by a bus. I took a bath in the sacred river of white elephants and returned to where she died. I touched her bones with my trunk, the bones of my wife in Kerman.

The ivory was used to decorate the Green Dome powdered with stars under the great glowing Orion between the Triangle and Aries always trembling in Kerman.

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