Afromosia Wakizashi

Did you see that?


A boy, dressed like a big wooden crab.


There, there. Wooden crab. There is only one such boy. You see him?

Yes, yes. I see, Jean. You, gamin! Stop!

Our boy is still walking.

Your boy, I think. You, stop! Boy! I said to stop!

You are losing your touch, Antoine. Should we shoot him?

Not yet.


I have questions.

Block him off there, then, and I will get in front of him. He will stop, I am sure.

Little man is fast for someone dressed in wood.

Arrête! See, he has stopped.

And I am out of breath. He better stop more quickly next time.

What are you wearing, little man?

afromosia shell:
layered plates keep soft things safe;

 rare woodland refuge

Did he say anything, Jean?

Nothing at all.

Perhaps the helmet muffled his voice? Or his voice is soft?

He said nothing.

His helmet.

His helmet?

Looks like Darth Vader.

Maybe. ... No, no. I do not think so.


That is not Star Wars dress-up. See the wooden sword at his side?

The lightsaber, yes.

No, see? This one has an edge. And curves a little.

No Jedi, then. So what is he?

Bric-á-brac samurai.

Samurai! Of course. You are far from Japan, gamin.

Did you make this yourself, boy, from scraps in a wood shop?

the tree—old, tall, wise—
weathers sharp bird, rooting boar;

bides long centuries


Magnifique. Now you are the one being ignored.

Is he deaf?

Boo! Hah. No, he blinked. Definitely he can hear us.

Talk to us, little turtle, or we will put holes in your shell.

Do you think you are a warrior, little boy?

He dressed as one, Antoine.

Yeah, but he is none. Knock, knock, little man. Real warriors here. Hard-core soldier boys.

My friend is losing patience, suit of armor. Speak. Do you know who we are?

pawns of a warlord;

kalashnikovs, bravado,

sundry STDs


What is the name for a samurai sword, again?


Our turtle carved his sword too short. A katana is this big, boy. That is just a long knife.

teak wakizashi:

length, crafting by the book;

curved edge threatens death

I’ve changed my mind, Jean. I think maybe I like it.


The sword. Polished, good crafting. Nice edge. It would sell.

You want it? He will give it to you, I think.

Yeah, he will. He will. Little turtle, give me the sword.

no one owns a thing;

the master lets it be—yet,

to take, you must earn

Espèce de con! He blocked my hand. Did you see?

Look, boy. We are not going to ask a second time. We are real warlords. Not dress-up knights.

Say, Jean.


I think maybe he is a girl.

clippings on the earth,

stubble on this daughter’s scalp:

armor, then armor

Is that true, samurai? Are you a girl under there?

I have seen it before. Her mother was frightened. Knew what soldiers would do to une salope. And so, she dressed her bitch up as a boy.

That will stop nothing. Not a thing at all.

No, indeed. See, now we borrow you. Perhaps we share you a little, putain. Give you back to mother a woman.

And you can raise us another soldier-man. A real one. Not a wooden one.

rifles strike at range;

when close enough to smell breath,

edges get the edge

Maybe that is it.


Putain is made of wood.

Open her up and find out.

Hold still, bitch.

wood will wound and worse

if one knows how to move it

and so, now, I move

John Wayne's Niece