344 East 134th Street Apt 6c

Bronx, New York 10454

 

July 16, 2001

 

Dear A,

 

I recently met somebody who reminded me of you. He was pacing the lobby of the building where I was going for a job interview. When I mentioned to him the name of the man I was looking for, he smiled and followed me into the elevator. We stopped on the fifth floor and he opened the gate. There was nobody there. He said we should wait for a minute or two, and then sat down on a stool, tapping his heel against a metal bar. He seemed to be studying the shape of my head, indirectly, through a mirror on the rear wall of the elevator. I cleared my throat and looked at my watch, hoping that the sound would draw his attention away from the mirror. He asked if I was in a hurry. I said I was.

 

Reaching down through his unbuttoned shirt collar the man pulled out a medallion, almost two inches in diameter. He moved it back and forth on an intricately knotted chain and then let it hang freely. Not wanting to stare I turned toward the mirror to see it more clearly. It showed the trickster of the crossroads, engraved with two mouths. He was riding on the back of a bird in flight. The man got up from his seat, stepped outside, and seemed to disappear.

 

Esu-Elegbara entered the elevator. A bell rang and the second floor light turned red. Esu ignored the call and transported me to the top of the building. "I know you," he said as he aligned the lift bed with the ninth floor. I asked him if he was the neighbor who took in my grandmother when the property was sold. The trickster replied, "I know him, but I am not he." The air filled with the smell of Eucalyptus. Esu felt the sea breeze on the shores of Senegal. He was a cedar-wood boat cutting through the blue waters in moonlight. The trees were still, like flamingos in the dark.

 

Agnes