The Belvedere: Iquitos


A boa the color of a fairy tale is dreaming and breathing with its tongue among the tangle of dead and living branches building a roof over the porch. Hikari’s asleep with her back to the room as Tsuneo tries to draw the afternoon rain with charcoal. A bird dressed in the colors of a parrot scares him with its curiosity as it ignores the snake.  

Outside of the village where the soil is less used, there’s a boy who crossed his eyes before the river last flooded. From the corners of his mouth, in a voice close to the listener’s, comes wisdom and the tales of wives married to people he’s never seen. Tsuneo asked him once; he said, “I want the two halves of my brain to share.” Years ago, a Dutch biologist here studying spiders died in a canoe after the baby he made killed a local woman as it was being born. The elders left his books with her family.

The river is brown and still with a swiftness marked by diving birds – nearer the dock the air fills with the stink of burnt diesel and rubber trees while an old man waves his hand in the air to let Tsuneo know the canoe for Iquitos has left. There’s a boy playing with a sloth, as Tsuneo sits and watches them he blinks, keeping the world black a little longer each time until it slows.



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