art by Jeffrey Redmond
Blue and Blue
by Jennifer Linnaea
A school of tiny pearlescent fish dart before my face, turn onto Al-Azraq Way, and stop to hover in a cloud around the scarf-covered head of the cabinet maker's daughter. She is opening a painted drawer for a customer, gesturing to the ornate carvings, miming placing something special inside. In the watery light the scales of the fish shine like a halo of stars around her head. I wonder if she has ever seen stars, but even as I think it I know she hasn't.
The customer, an old man, comes from the sailing ship anchored high above. When he leaves her stall he carries his cabinet wrapped in cloth and kicks hard against its weight. At sunset the ship will sail away, taking him and all its passengers, and the sunken market will belong to the sunken folk once more.
Except I will remain.
I float away, back down the main artery called Dahab Naquiyy, past the necklace seller. Today she is showcasing a torque of gold, hammer-beaten, with a shark's grim hunting spell inscribed on the front. Only a few words, as the sharks are a curt people. It reads, "Bring Me Meat."