Sunday, August 19, 2007

519 days, 3 hours, 26 minutes 0.2 seconds

U.S. paid $1 million to ship two 19-cent washers. Anxious to get soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan all the tools they needed, they let twin sisters, South Carolina women in their forties, dupe them. Luxury cars, boats, jewelry, vacations. One sister committed suicide in her beach house.

She knows what it's like in the Deep South. Jerry Falwell always on the lookout. Bob Jones University in Greenville. It was the first place she taught Poets in the Schools, nearly forty years ago, when there were separate Black and White teachers' lounges and the kids were paddled. Then she moved on to Oramgeburg. Warned not to walk the road at night.

Lock washers place tension against a nut after tightening, to help prevent the nut from loosening. She thinks of the single washer caught in her bra two months ago, how it had been just one more tool to keep her head straight, how a few days later she retrieved it. Her only souvenir. She keeps it with the marble-brains he gave her.