Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Singing The War

As the music played, soft and sustaining, as the saxophone came in and out like lapping waves against the shore, as it mingled with the heart-grabbing bass and sustained rhythm which moved her to the wordless core, she closed her eyes. 
Inside where there was at first darkness, the shape of a jigsaw puzzle formed.  Hundreds of scattered pieces floated in space, some of them glinted with flecks of yellow and earth and trees blowing in the wind.  She heard a voice.
“Sing the war,” it urged. “Let it come out in sound.”
Her mouth opened and she found the root and from there she bounced up slowly gathering colors. There were large bonfires with orange flames forming great cones of sweeping embers, they scattered up into the twilight.  Looking down over the hillsides she could see half a dozen fires. 
The peasants were running. Barefoot and dressed in white, the soles of their feet almost as white as their dingy rags. They ran as a great horde down the hillside and out of view, children and thick women with bouncing breasts, young women holding their newborns in their arms. They ran leaving all they had in their piece-meal houses of wood and refuse, just a few old men thinking to grab machetes. 
She jumped up with her voice, going higher. She saw the great metal monsters of the American and Salvadoran army, huge helicopters painted a pale olive green. Men jumped from the open side of the metal birds with their guns in front of them like precious babies. Jaws locked and faces hard, they hit the ground running. They jumped onto the overgrown hillside, the whirlwind of the helicopter blades moving everything in a rush. They ran towards the jungle looking for targets. 
The sounds of her voice got louder, stronger, coming from a place of complete commitment, the story told in tone and quarter notes while the saxophone kept along, leaping like a faithful dog by her side.
And then the face of a pretty young woman, mocha skin and dark eyes and smiling for the camera.  The same girl, standing in a jungle clearing, sunlight illuminating her from behind, baggy pants and long sleeved shirt rolled up to her elbows.  She stood looking into the distance lost in thought.  The same girl, hands tied behind her back moments before the end. 
And then the singing stopped as a wave of emotion rushed forward like a giant sweeping in, coating not just her eyes, but her legs and arms and chest and back in chills and tears. She opened her eyes and looked around, seeing the same familiar collection of people and things, tables and chairs and an assortment of collected instruments on the shelves. 
No one was there to meet her eyes, no one had seen the fires or metal birds, no one had seen the girl but her.

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