Ceremony of Sand
The boy covered in soot appeared at the Bricoleur’s threshold. He had a large round head and a
thin body, like a match. Soon he had kites & a wardrobe, toy soldiers & a school. But no name.
The Bricoleur explained: If I give you a name, they will come for you. Meanwhile, near the wall,
real soldiers studied the boy’s earlier entrance. Surveillance video showed his little body dancing
through the metal slats like a knock. They had his image but no name. When they plastered his
face over town, people were unable to tell whether they were looking at a person or a light bulb.
If only we knew his name, the townsfolk clamored. They were as restless as gibbons in a zoo.
Undisturbed, the boy grew into a train. He ran cross country & became sinewy & kind. The
townsfolk knew him as Snapdragon & Sōzu & Graceful Hand. The boys on the track team called
him Saguaro, which was closest to the name he carried inside. Soon the Bricoleur passed on to
the next world. The boy spent years in a half-dead state, roaming alleys with his xolo looking for
alms. This is why, when the doctor appeared, he was able to earn her light. She had come from
the same town & the same source on the other side of the wall. The courtship was quick & they
planned to wed in the giant cathedral at the center of town. The townsfolk, who were now better
known as family, occupied every pew. At the altar, after the ceremony of sand, the priest, in
preparation for the vows, asked their names. Citlali, the girl said. The boy paused & then,
thinking that time absolves, spoke his name into the hall. The audience, the bride, & the priest
himself set upon the boy.
From Ceremony of Sand (YesYes Books, 2019) by Rodney Gomez. Copyright © 2019 Rodney Gomez. Published with the permission of the author.