May 14, 2015 Comments Off on A Prayer to Tupā by the Rio del la Plata By Ozzie Nogg
They called her Silent Death, so skillfully did she bestow the swift surprise. Anaconda, marmoset, hummingbird and jaguar: no creature of the rain forest escaped her blowgun.
Daily she went to the tall trees and to the river. She wore bracelets of piranha teeth, toucan feathers in her hair, and a turtle shell quiver of bamboo darts slung across her naked breasts. Calabash gourds of curaré poison hung, always, at her waist. She brought lizard, monkey, and red-tailed fish back to the fire pit, and the people bowed to Silent Death and said, “Blessed is she who feeds and keeps us alive.”
She lay with each man in her tribe, but no seed grew. The village shaman danced, howled, rubbed Silent Death’s belly with wild yam and the droppings of tree frogs, but childless she remained.
One moonrise she found a baby capybara abandoned in the rain forest, but she did not shoot.
“I will be your mother,” she said, and carried the infant back to the village. “This is my child,” she told the people. “Do not harm him.”
She named him Master of the Grasses. She fed him bark, leaves, fruit. She brushed his auburn hair and watched him grow. Every day, when she went to the tall trees or to the river, Master of the Grasses went with her.
One sunset, on the far shore, she saw a man. Young, sinewy, the skin around his eyes painted red. He is not from our tribe, she thought. Silent Death saw the man raise his bow and arrow. “Run,” she said to Master of the Grasses, but he fell to the forest floor. She knelt and closed his eyes while watching the man as he plunged into the river.
“Yes,” said Silent Death. “Swim to me. Let your seed swim in me, and give me a child.”
She and the man came together. After, while the man slept, she kissed his red paint-circled eyes with poisoned darts; then she buried Master of the Grasses in the river, and, while her womb flowered, she dragged the man to the village . . . to the fire pit.
© 2014 Ozzie Nogg
Ozzie Nogg’s flash fiction has been published in Diddledog, FLASHSHOT, Dew on the Kudzu, and 50 to 1. Her entry was a finalist in a (relatively) recent NYC Midnight Tweet-Me-A-Story-Contest. In 2003, Ozzie’s first foray into fantasy, Blue Plate Special, appeared in MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magic Realism, and was later nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the E-2ink Award. Her book of personal stories, Joseph’s Bones, won First Place in the 2005 Writer’s Digest Press International Self-Published Book Awards. To read her short fiction, poetry, essays and blog posts, visit: http://rabbisdaughter.com and http://ozzienogg.com