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We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?

We are everywhere

Photo: Ugur Akinci

by Ugur AKINCI

They are everywhere now the builders of Tenochtitlan at shopping malls and office buildings after hours the owners fade they appear in twos and threes like worn out woolen sweaters useful willing and ready at seven dollars an hour soft masked brown eyes mouths and noses in lobbies and restrooms with hopes soap brushes vacuums perforated lives connected by desire like a roll of toilet paper in low whispers random nervous laughter but no eye contact ever dropped off by pickup trucks and picked up in gray Chevies they from a life never to return towards a light that flickers razor sharp.

It's all for the bambinos and madres back at home, that is, San Cristobal de Las Casas. Don't ask me my name por favor. By the way, I'd start learning Spanish if I were you mister.

Esmeralda was my sister. Almond eyes. It's raining and the train is late. The night is late. We are nervous, keeping our heads low under the devil bushes. No crickets but watch out for scorpions. Field mice darting around for no purpose. Surprisingly, stars above. Amigo, what does that mean?

The wagons and the steel wheels get louder shining. The rail stretches from nowhere to forever, the umbilical cord of a dark border night. We are anxious, well perhaps soiling our jeans, for that ladder into Texas. We are here to climb it to heaven. Then the moment, now! It's always "now" somewhere sometimes. We can't help that.

We bolt from the underbrush where we hide and explode at steel as it pulls up next to us with a puff and a drum that shakes rib cages. This mean engine, with knowledge, a weight lifter, neck veins popping. Shaking oiled metal, screeching axles. Like a heartless fat guy who gets up from a rich table, chewing on a golden toothpick, but who still spits on us. Because he can. For fun and exercise.

The border bandits, thieves from Tamaulipas jail, and even El Coyote, if they see you, they rob you kill you rape you, but the order sometimes changes. Sometimes they find your shoes. Sometimes they don't.

Luis-Fernando is athletic and a showoff. He jumps first to the narrow ledge on the third car, barely, and grabs the wet handle like a rock. He used to play soccer like a criminal.

We're running along the train uphill, tearing inside but determined, the noise, the rumble, his foot slips and he stumbles but recovers quick because we are praying, the steam pressure deafening.

A sharp whistle, choir of angels take off in a flurry I see them. Stars above shine even brighter, with a red halo that I don't understand. Luis-Fernando offers a hand to Esmeralda. She offers a hand to me. I say you go. I'm older. She looks at me.

Once I heard a guy in a bar in Metamoros say there is no such thing as pure coincidence. Before he slapped me.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I stare shivering at the train and the hot greasy wheels. I can smell them I am that close. Luis-Fernando curses at both of us. Mierda! Train about to accelerate downhill again. It's a good time, a good time it is. It must be.

Esmeralda grabs Luis-Fernando's hand and her mind flashes back to the damp warehouse of our uncle's paintstore where they made love late one night like this one very much a hungry night after the last customer was gone.

A fortune cookie from the only Chinese take-out in town: "Your luck will have more suitors this week than sailors in a drinking establishment. Look carefully before you step off vehicles with wheels. Lucky prime numbers: 1, 7, 43. Lucky stone:Ruby. Lucky horse: Cervantes."

His hands are warm and muscular like the roots of an ancient olive tree. Life is twisting in them with a power that promises her everything's gonna be alright. She goes for it!

I see her floating up the best she can. A magnolia unfolding towards a meaning. Luis-Fernando dependable, careful, but rain. His hands sweaty. Her hands too small for salvation.

Night is aqua. Destiny. She jerks and twitches. She is a mackerel. Shoulder cracks separates, frees herself from the hook splashes back into another life. Night is now an ocean. It's a knife. It sucks her free and deep under the wheels each weighing three hundred pounds, perfectly round and sharp on the edges.

Nobody hears her scream. We don't scream. Fish don't breath. Train screams nonstop. But she disappears under the world.

Luis-Fernando frozen like a finch on the ledge, his round peasant face getting smaller and smaller in the distance towards a promise in Dallas or Baltimore or Los Angeles, a hole punched on a ticket for a show that is canceled. No music, Fernando. Not tonight. We are black stamps on a letter mailed to future, address classified.

I'm wiping off something a warm liquid with lumps and pieces off my cheek and mouth although I don't hurt. Salty. I don't know yet but it's gonna hurt later, a crackling volcano will collapse inside my chest forever.

I pull her out at least some of her from under the rolling mountain, quickly with my claws, mad with terror, sun bright force, before the rear wheels follow the front ones that sliced through her left thigh and arm.

Esmeralda, all of her eighteen years, the corn fields, quick plans, the best ever who sang La Cucaracha and who had such a cascading laughter, the girl who gave a many bad dreams to rough boys back home I'm embarrassed to share,  is instantly thirty pounds lighter.

Nothing is moving at absolute zero minus my heart. This cruel train doesn't know a thing. Who is wise and understanding among you? Certainly not the night, not the state of Texas, the silent cactus nor the field mice. I remember the guy at the bar.

A bolt so bright if you look at it you'll go blind. It is hammered from this end of the earth and I stick out from the other, from somewhere near the washing sinks and toilet bowls.

Who is wise and understanding among you I ask you once again? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Okay?

I don't go to church on Sundays anymore and that hurts too. It's all for the kids.

Esmeralda is everywhere.

_ . _

E-mail: ugurakinci@aol.com
Web site: http://tork.blogspot.com

©Ugur Akinci

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