Tito Manuel Dreams of the Author in the JungleAlbert Abonado
On the ground, a man writes with a palm leaf names I assume belong to the dead. Names I do not recognize except my own. I ask him why are you writing so close to the war? He says he is building a house he intends to fill with rice and lightning. I want him to be more specific, but I have already forgotten who is dreaming, if I am a young man having a dream about an uncle who has fallen through the jungle or the trees sharing a dream about two men whose bones are eventually polished by a small lizard. I am often uncertain about the direction of my dreaming. He cuts open a fish and draws my face on its tiny bones, asks if I would eat my face. He says most men in my condition have been known to eat themselves. They start with the mouth, because they have never known the taste of themselves consuming themselves, surprised such moments resemble a small house covered in salt. All I can remember of my own home are its holes. Perhaps I lived inside a perforation or was a piece of iron that punctured a wall and claimed the damage as my own, where only enough light is available to read a thumbprint when I awaken.
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