A themed group of 99s
I rode in the high seat of the camion, filled with humid, crumbling foam, springs, and clothes of the bride. We peered out to see the boy who fell, but the bright moonshine was spotty and most of his body had been concealed with fronds.
I imagined him back there, swinging on ropes and bags and the flat-bed scaffold, jostling for a top spot, feeling comfortable for a boy who climbs mangos and palms, but forgetting that a tree is stable. Perhaps he was ejected while reaching higher at that last big bump, landing under the half-flat tyre.
Through the interstice of bark-covered logs stacked crudely with interlocking corners I could see a skeleton. The cracks were not caulked or filled with moss or pitch and so the low sun and the wind whipping through the steppe had finally blown away his skin.
The coffin was a single room, big enough for him lying on his back, alone. There was no old settlement near by; none along the stream below near the copse of skinny trees from where his last structure came. Perhaps he’d been hunting or herding with his brothers and died along the way.
When the Somali woman died at sunrise in the hospital on the Kenyan side, she was wrapped in a sheet and around again with a dark woven plastic mat.
They set her on the cold, corrugated metal floor in the back of the covered truck between side-facing foldable benches. I drove her as far as the empty immigration office, a low cinder-block building with no doors in the frames, and metal shuttered windows that would not close.
Enveloped in early mist, they unloaded her and shuffled silently into Somalia, red dust sticking to their feet, not rising.