Metal bars stuck around the hollow of his stomach since the day he was born – it never went away.
The nomad was abandoned, his mother was the drain. Everybody knew the stranger from the underground.
The gypsy roamed the international sewers trading a part of him with the merchants from the surface.
If you were to be one of them, you would definitely ask, “Where is his gut?”
And there would be none.
Let your name be Alice.
A louse crawled in his flowing, gray hair and Alice ignored it, pretending to be disgusted by the sewage instead. Perhaps she wasn’t pretending after all. Alice was genuine.
A leash held him in. The jail was made up of metal pipes filled with the black bile from the surface which their citizens couldn’t stand. It was made to prevent the traders from stealing the nomad.
The Gypsy from the sewer smiled from the enclosure.
He could stand us. He could stand anything.
The people liked him because he was the only one to ask, and they wanted to tell.
His eyes would gleam with the sheen of dreams, as if his tear ducts collected your stories.
He remembered each one of them.
He remembered the time when the two towers fell as the bird went blind in the middle of the city.
He remembered the boy who left tears on his shoulders when he told him about his brother who left.
When that girl gave him daisies, he asked her how she found them and he still remembers the garden in her backyard where she played with pythons.
He hasn’t forgotten the wall which fell when the cold years went away.
When he slept it all came back.
He walked through the garden, breathing the dust from the towers, looking for the brother who was lost past the broken boundary wall.
In his sleep he lived on the surface, amidst the part of the lives the people left behind.
He worked the hardest in his dreams. Breaking and mending the weak, creaking parts – making a whole which functioned.
He found the answers to the questions they didn’t even know they will ask.
When he awoke, the answer was found in the cage of his stomach.
Each time it was different.
Once, it was the bonsai tree with thin, paper leaves.
The merchants took it up to the surface and planted it in their cities. The plant grew into a metropolis.
Then he made a red star and it made the wall which crumbled.
A tiger cub sat curious in his stomach when Alice told the nomad about her cycle which broke. The cub’s piercing eyes searched her face, maybe looking for the tooth which went missing when she fell, or imagining the white fluid dripping down her lips and eyes. Her stomach was yet not fat.
His pupils dilated, its throat vibrated – its purrs called to you, Alice.
When she finished telling her tales, the other merchants handed him the money.
The cub was squeezed out of the cage.
It trembled with hesitance. Its tiny claws dug into the metal of the pipes.
Alice picked it up; the tiger’s licks left wet, red trails on her neck.
The merchant group walked away – ready to fuel their machine of civilization with dreams that they would distort and promises they couldn’t keep.
This one would be good for a decade.
After which the merchants will return to buy a part of the nomad again.
It’s best for business.
Alice glanced back towards the gypsy again. His cage lay hollow, his eyes caved-in.
He will never see his cub alive again.
The surface which thrives on his organ implants bars him from living his own dreams.
Or does it?
Alice strutted away.
A leash has its way.
A louse still hangs on his silvery strands which may never shine with Sun rays.
The light awaits the nomad.