under the fly-over: a policeman sits cross-legged on a thin bench balanced by two boys playing cards at the other end. sometimes, patience is just a game you play while you wait. and wait. then the black river starts. little ships of plastic aqua glasses float fast—all the captains had jumped the lifeboats—on its surface. the ripped blue plastic lids stick out like broken sails. a woman steps into the heavy rain, the water falling like cold pebbles, lifts her batik sarong, and puts one foot in the rushing black water. an aqua ship hits her instep. she lets it run around her ankle like a reconnoitring pirate ship. a cendol man opens a tweed-patterned parasol and puts it over, not his head, but his clay cendol jar. big sweats of rain already on its brown-black surface. no, the rain doesn’t fall, it blows horizontally and hits your face like a cavalry of angry trains. and the smell of dead chickens, dried fish and rotting vegetables, picked at 3 a.m. this morning, floats up to the grunts of slowing cars on wet asphalt above.

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