Not All Of What Follows Is True

A recurring journal of mixed veracity.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Kouphovano Five Thousand

I lie on my back, facing the stars shuddering in the warm night air. Below me the terracotta-coloured tiles are cool against my back. Off to the right bats flit frantically over the surface of the swimming pool, drinking from its top layer. In my hand is a bottle of imported Heineken, but I don’t drink from it. From not far away, just over the other side of the pool, in fact, comes the sound of a woman weeping uncontrollably. I do nothing to assist.

In many ways the night is like all the others, all the others in the time that I’ve been here. The days are full of flies and heat and dust, the flimsy shelters we erect seemingly doing nothing to protect us from a Spartan sun. Sweat and earth form Maori-patterns on my face. Occasionally we find things of interest. Today we found dead humans. Over in the other trench (the competent one, not the one run by the French) there was a man, a socketted spearhead left on his chest. In our trench, where I’d been standing not long before, there was a woman curled in foetal position. An expert had come out from Athens. From her careful trowel and anatomy textbooks, the past had been constructed. In the woman’s abdomen was a collection of small, significant bones.

I think of this, and I lie motionless in the warm night, listening to a woman weeping uncontrollably.