I scrub and lather him like a salmon until he spits soapy water. "Pig" I smile— This man smells better than his country I throw his shoes and glasses in the air, take off his t-shirt and socks, and kneel in honor of Sasha Petrov who was amputated, in honor of Lesha Vatkii the taken. I dip a glass in a bath-tub, drink dirty water. Soaping together—that is sacred to me. Washing mouths together. You can fuck anyone—but with whom can you sit in water? And the cuddling up before sleep!—and back-scratching in the morning. My back, not yours! I knew I had caught the fish and he knew he had been caught. He sings as I dry his chest & penis "Sonya, I was a glad man with you—"
Our country is the stage.
When soldiers march into town, public assemblies are officially prohibited. But today, neighbors flock to the piano music from Sonya and Alfonso’s puppet show in Central Square. Some of us have climbed up into trees, others hide behind benches and telegraph poles.
When Petya, the deaf boy in the front row, sneezes, the sergeant puppet collapses, shrieking. He stands up again, snorts, shakes his fist at the laughing audience.
An army jeep swerves into the square, disgorging its own Sergeant.
Disperse immediately! the puppet mimics in a wooden falsetto.
Everyone freezes except Petya, who keeps giggling. Someone claps a hand over his mouth. The Sergeant turns toward the boy, raising his finger.
You! the puppet raises a finger.
Sonya watches her puppet, the puppet watches the Sergeant, the Sergeant watches Sonya and Alfonso, but the rest of us watch Petya lean back, gather all the spit in his throat, and launch it at the Sergeant.
The sound we do not hear lifts the gulls off the water.