I got my fingers caught in the window just when the hydrangeas would be coming into bloom in the canals in Los Talas, in those sewage sludges where I usually throw ashes; I got my fingers caught in the window and I looked at the sparkling stones of the desert, sucking my finger to relieve the pain; there, a little further, men have decided to shoot each other to death; before, they had decided to kill each other with lances and to deform their women’s dry lips and carve their skin with a knife, the story of their valuable or very poor lives carved with a knife that produces keloid on cracked skins, in silence, as in silence and lovingly our ancestors developed the captive ladies’ feet, perhaps to avoid suffering the horrible pain of abandonment. After all, when the meat was over we ate the mare, because that’s how it had to be. Nobody doubts that. (p. 18) I arrived stepping on shit of coat, dromedary, cow, man, stepping on the burning sand with my shoes unstitched, I got there shooing little polyethylene bags away, even the kind, hard, curious face of the cheerful man sitting on the floor in the shade of mixed smells of bad meat, dark fruit, kerosene, spices, flies, grumbling animals covered in dust at the gates of the desert, at the gates of some fairy tale badly told, and there I am with my lips cracked by the sun and salt, with a kind gesture, more than kind, overacting White kindness among Fulbes, watched by the lady with matted hair who grinds millet with the mortar swinging her tits, watched by Sidi who wants me to pay for his wedding, looking stunned at the blurred look of the cheerful little man who holds out his hand to me, and I sit in the shade of mixed smells of all kind of putrefaction. He holds his hand to me, and I am sitting among them, the Fulbes, the Tuaregs, not those from my childhood, but those from this other childhood of mine, of being there cross-legged on filthy wicker mats on the Sahel sands, under a sky rotten because of the heat, he holds his hand of tired and cheerful elephant to me and I also put god’s powder into my nose, I also sniff god’s present; I laugh sitting on a filthy floor and a trickle of saliva wets my camera. (p. 20) I write to you because it might be that I dialled something like 1136 and I told the young lady who gives the time: do you know how much I miss her?, she told me: it’s three hours twenty-five minutes thirty-two seconds, and I told her: if she looks at me, it is like seeing hummingbirds drinking water from my hand, and she answered: it’s three hours twenty-five minutes thirty-nine seconds. But you did not even realize. I write to you because I want to. (p. 21) The last time I saw him, he was standing at a newsstand in 12 Street. He looked at me with a squint eye, a red eye, and the few black teeth and smell of smells. I never knew if he knew for certain who I was. Who he was, I’m sure he had not known that for long. He looked at me with his torso twisted on his side, he had ankle boots without shoelaces, an overcoat and a string instead of a belt. He was a bit far from that other he who used to wear gold cuff links. A bit far from the fabulist who used to have an espresso machine on the granite kitchen counter. I used to like going to visit him at his office in Palacio San Martín, have you noticed how nice it is when grenadiers clack?, he used to say, and it was nice, really, to walk by and hear the grenadiers clack. He looked at me with his squint red eye and told me: here I am, looking at this shit that goes to and fro. He pointed at the people with his head. It was midday. It’s just as well I found you, he said, because you also hate them all. Goodbye, Gus, it was a real pleasure. (p. 22) That little girl playing French skipping, falling on her heels and feeling the weight on her nape, and she doesn’t suspect that some day she will make the weight of the fall felt on somebody else’s nape, ignoring those things that are eyes or dogs badly sewed that cross the street without looking, ignoring the tremor from the planes that spray the crops or the unbearable cruelty of the wait with the cigarette burning your lips, the cigarette squashed, and she ignores the cigarette, everything, feeling the weight of the fall on her nape: who is going to teach her about love and the lack of it, about gentleness and oblivion, about race and miserable death in the fields of Congo or in the deserts of Chad, who will tell her that it is no longer in fashion in the media but still thousands are dying in Daruf and she, who does not know, will make it felt on the napes some day, the weight of the fall, of the heavy hammer, of the axe, of power, of not being loved, of not being taken into account, of being nothing. Why is it that nobody makes an orange lemon pie ? L asked this morning. Inspired by deep thoughts. If the orange is tastier. And you were around there. With swollen eyes. Knowing about coltan and French skipping. And I was around there, each time further from S.I, and its ideas about culture, more concerned with how it is that things happen in those languages that we did not understand than with your swollen eyes. And that shouldn’t be forgivable. Eu lhe prometo o sol / Se hoje o sol sair / Ou a chuva / Se a chuva cair7 (p. 26) 6 Speaking clock in Argentina. 7 I promise him the sun / if the sun rises today / or the rain / if it rains today.