From the stones we cut
Consider a marriage auction. A room of honor-bound, salt of the earth men.
A makeshift stage. The kind of traveling circuses and wagon
pharmacies. On the stage are daughters endorsed by the church. Next
to the daughters are their artifacts;
samples of their sewing, cooking, penmanship. Behind the daughters stand the
fathers, serious, wide across the belly, who not so long ago were the men
in the audience. Young, land-owning, virile. The fathers cross their arms in unison;
they curse their misfortune, unable to believe how their own future, which they
had worked so tirelessly for, was now, by no fault of their own, tied
irrevocably to their daughter’s ability to win a
man of repute.
It is not too much to say: no one wishes for a daughter.
The men climb the stage to sample and value and shake hands. The men
taste and measure and survey penmanship for lines too sharp, jagged,
rebellious, the known marks of a barren and therefore useless womb. The
daughters defer to the floor or to the sewing in hand till they are called upon
to smile, to sing.
If interest is shown, offers are made in backrooms over steaming cups of
coffee served by hands darker than oil. The offers:
goats, stock, walks through martha’s vineyard, a tobacco indian, football games where
no one kneels.
Matan Gold currently works as a professional grilled-cheese maker, at a bookstore that is also a bar. Send him ramen recipes at www.matangold.com.