Kampala 2012 | Damian Dressick

	Black boys with skin the color of shoe polish cradling automatic weapons that gleam like glass in the sun crowd the marketplace near the airport where the big jets still land. Their guns, it is said, carry bullets laved with the blood of radioactive animals poached out on the Kenyan border near one of the impact craters. Incanted over by the witchdoctor, these hollow points are rumored to bore through skin and bone, going straight for the heart of an enemy, devouring it and morphing instantaneously into harmless butterflies, yellow as margarine, light as air. 
	Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of these ghost insects haunt the warrens of wasteboard shacks south of the hospital, lighting on the grimy Panama hats of the white men and painting the dappled roofs of their Land Rovers calcium white with bug shit. 
        On nights of the full moon the lepidoptera swarm and luminesce under the mercury vapor lamps, singing the names of the dead. While the locals hide themselves within the moldering walls of their aluminum-roofed shacks—ears plugged with beeswax, lips offering sibilant prayers to ancestors long-vaporized—a man, never younger than seventy and always different, paces a slow circle at the widest crossroads for miles. He wears a necklace of blood orchids and shakes a rattle encasing the milk teeth of the eldest child from each family.
        Although most suspect no real harm can come of hearing the butterflies trill the names of those who have passed, all are certain they would suffer irrevocably if the very old served no conspicuous and inarguable purpose. Wrinkled and forgetful as they are, these elders are their only link to the past, the only thing that keeps the boys in the marketplace from wanting to maintain an unbreakable hold on their shimmering guns long after they have grown into men.

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commentary | poetry | fiction | chicago | autumn 2007  
Household Poisons | Thomas King
It Begins when the Leaves Turn | Grace Wells
The Intolerable Nature of Yearning | Katie Kidder
Figure 2 | Lindsay Bell
Egressive | Amy Groshek
Kampala 2012 | Damian Dressick
Today, October the Ninth | Allison Shoemaker
This House | Edward Mc Whinney

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