The Marketplace of Puerto Belen 

For the marketplace of Puerto Belen, a sprawling bamboo bazar with the planning of a Jenga tumble lined with tented shacks slapping in breezy sailcloth as a kind of asylum from the sun, the signs of trouble drop from the sky daily in committees of black vultures perched in unaquitable espionage on the edges of the mat roofs that encircle the crowded fiesta, radiating in sun-bleached streets like the flaming spokes of eyes past milliners shacks, river huts, gutting boards, pocket knives, cast-off mango rinds, scales and gills and pulps and seeds, dried chicken wings, potato parts and pieces of pig, sequins, sandals, sweaters, and shirts, soup scraps, stew slops, and beating souls. The buzzards flap dreamily up and crisscross the market like helicopters, while late into the afternoon boys and girls shoo chickens, play soccer, suck sugar cane, clean each other's brows, hold hands, gawk, vomit, and laugh, escorting off another Amazonian day in a puffy-edged flush of sky, young and indifferent to whether the vultures at night don armor or clatter emptily away.
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