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Showing posts from September, 2018

Eagle Longings in Contrast

Some days the sun beats down like it never will rain again, and everyone tastes flakes of rusty earth upon their tongues. My mother and I are hanging sheets we have just washed in the Rio Doce. I yawn into the sunlight. “Shola,” my mother says. “Did I see you staring after Akin this morning when the men were headed to the fields? You must not watch him, or he will get strange ideas, and he is a good man but too impulsive. He may be trouble, Shola. Iranola is a better match for you.” She speaks in a hushed tone in Yoruba, our language for secrets. Most of the slaves speak Bantu at Fazenda Carvalho. The masters speak only Portuguese and with their whips, not that they whip many of us in the big house—we are valuable and docile—but when they thrash our men, they make us watch. “Iya, I did not even see Akin this morning,” I say, an automatic protest as I suppress the memory of how his muscles bristled and the glistening of his skin.