Let Me Try Again
I could bore you with the sunset, the way water tasted after so many days without it, the trees, the breed of dogs, but I can’t say there were forty people when we found the ranch with the thin white man, his dogs, and his shotgun. Until this 5 a.m. I couldn’t remember there were only five, or seven people— We’d separated by the paloverdes. We, meaning: four people. Not forty. The rest. . . I don’t know. They weren’t there when the thin white man let us drink from a hose while pointing his shotgun. In pocho Spanish he told us si correr perros atacar. If run dogs trained attack. When La Migra arrived, an officer who probably called himself Hispanic at best, not Mejicano like we called him, said buenas noches and gave us pan dulce y chocolate. Procedure says he should’ve taken us back to the station, checked our fingerprints, etcétera. He must’ve remembered his family over the border, or the border coming over them, because he drove us to the border and told us next time, rest at least five days, don’t trust anyone calling themselves coyotes, bring more tortillas, sardines, Alhambra. He knew we would try again and again, like everyone does.
Copyright © 2016, 2017 by Javier Zamora. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.