Academic journal article Field

The Leg

Academic journal article Field

The Leg

Article excerpt

On the road that weaves between the dark slopes of desert

a small car moves slow. With rifles aimed, we watch it

closely because of the strange beam of light that shoots

from its passenger-window into the hills. We wave it down

to stop. One man drives this blue Volkswagen, its doors

held shut with string; another man holds a spotlight pointed

from the open window. We search: no shovels, no rifles,

not even the usual knife for shearing sheep. I walk them

to our terp who has his face covered, all but his eyes,

with a khaki scarf. After the men speak Arabic,

the terp says they've been hired by the phone company-

each night they drive while shining the light, watching

for anyone who might cut the wires, blow the lines.

Sergeant Kenson says, What do they do if they see someone?

The terp speaks and the man who had held the light

runs to the car, leans his body through the open window

and jumps out holding-it must've been sawed-off

from a dining room table-a thick polished wooden leg.

The man smiles and swings the leg left and right. …

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