Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Horse Steel

The tinker fashioned a pair splints out of gate stiles, attaching them to the boy’s legs with screws. He shaved down the tibia, decreasing the gap between the boy’s knees, Saber shins having reduced his gait to a shuffle. Hutchinson's teeth were a common sight beyond the five-mile, the fence built to keep the syphilitics and undesirables out and to ensure that if they did make it passed the first gate, the barbwire would discourage them from continuing any further. His da said that the syphilitics had lopsided heads that made them look like they were walking sideways when they were walking forwards and forwards when they were walking sideways. The children had slanted foreheads and flypaper-thin eyelids. The parents slopping foreheads and hooded eyelids. His da said that the oldest ones were known to eat the younger ones, cooking them on skewers over a brushfire. The ones that got away got caught up in the barbwire, he said, so there was no need to feel sorry for them. Anyhow the sun would cook them, he said, which was better than being eaten by a relative.

“{Lela}, so the history says, was extremely happy to see {the harridan’s sister} in her house. She welcomed {her} with great kindness, charmed as well by her beauty as by her intelligence; for in both respects the fair {Lela} was richly endowed, and all the people of the city flocked to see her as though they had been summoned by the ringing of the bells.” (Cervantes, Don Quixote)

The farrier forged a pair of stilts out of horse steel. Working the kilned steel over the throat he hammered out the longer pieces, pulling and shaping the smaller ones with a pair of long-handle pinchers. He welded the pieces together, milking the joints to ensure a tight fit.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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