Sunday, December 03, 2006

lime mortar

The lime powder whips up
out of the bag
in a cloud
and sticks to his eyes
he falls back
into the rotating drum
of the mixer
and the flanges
catch his jacket
he rotates there
for fifteen minutes
half in, half out
head in the mortar
he wonders vaguely
if he'll die
a kind of peace
comes over him
and he learns to go with it
he surrenders to the spin
augments it
with quick skips
each time his feet
touch down.
After a while, his eyes
stop burning
and he looks into
that whirling world of mud
perfect now,
sticky and fluid
he prods it, smells it
it smells like a grave
he wants to taste it
to feel it in his mouth
to know its cold, its grit,
its heaviness.

He can't quite stand
when they turn the mixer off
he sort of slumps
between two of the guys
a dead weight
his mouth hanging open
full of mortar
and a crazy light
in his eyes
like an animal
or a dead person.

But the mortar flops out
of the mixer
just right, grey-brown
and firm,
ready to use.

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