by Dean Lawson
It’s advertised as a romance. The poster shows a Sudanese woman with a child at her side collecting gum from Acacia trees. An usher shuts the lobby doors. Lights dim. Curtains divide. You see grains of sand begin to swirl and assemble. Soon the entire theatre is in the midst of this maelstrom. Hysterical laughter sweeps through the auditorium. Sand! In your hair, your eyes, your mouth, your nose. You squint and cover up with both hands — someone panics and shouts, Stop! Fade in: Shot of a truck’s wheel, black and dusty with no cap; earth, dead and dry, caked on. Then the image of a soldier, climbing atop an ivory flatbed truck. A small girl in braids, with cheeks like pillows, holds the leg of her mother. The mother says there is a key for everything. She stands behind, cupping the child’s eyes as the truck pulls away. Then says, God says so.