augury doggerel

Monday, August 12, 2002

For Tat

The ancient and mummified annual fair downtown was more shuffling toe to heel past tables full of goods as seen on TV or in the backs of magazines: easy-to-use glass cutters (as if you ever would) and mountain goat cheese (well, maybe not seen on your TV) and genuine African carvings (sold by one of the three or four black people living in this town) and army surplus (trash for boys who like to dress up in their bedrooms) and tables and tables and tables of socks and shirts and underwear (the sort you would expect by the boxful at a street fair) all soaking up the smoke of grilling sausages.

But behind each table (except for the places with boys playing army or token Africans selling African tokens), the prettiest girl the dealer knew who could also make change sits and smiles in the sun, tanning in something strung on her shoulders and stopping not far below. This cheese could be good, you think, stroking a goatish chin. But no. This cheese, in the mountain tradition, comes in chunks with thick brown skin carved or pressed into patterns. It looks well handled. It looks, in fact, like the genuine leather slippers being sold two tables down. Tanning in the sun.


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