I

The girl the three boys are watching emerge from the river casts a long shadow, noon or night. She has not seen them—and they know she has not seen them. She casts a shadow and a scent, a musk, a magnetism, and the boys who are watching her from the bushes by the road and have watched her on the cracked steps of their homes and in their panting dreams feel something they cannot put into words, and it is a feeling like chopping a coconut with an old cutlass: hitting it, harder, harder, shaking it and hearing the water inside, smelling the sweet as you chop it and feeling the rough of the coconut hairs that have splintered along the edges but the cuts are not clean and the cutlass is shit, thack, thack, thack, thack, thack, oh, how long will it...

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