Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miguel Méndez, from Pilgrims in Aztlán

We were living in the desert. Dry land, as greedy as a mother without teats, under a sky that was like a magnifying glass, at the foot of slopes so rocky that from a distance they looked like they were covered with petrified turtles. My younger brothers and I had a little friend we adored, a little stream. It rolled down in a curve to where we lived from a hillside that at night turned into a mountain. Its pebbles were toys that we loved so much. We played with it every day, caressing its dream until one day the miracle of the rain would awaken it. Then, lively, naughty, noisy, it would run like we did, joyfully. When we caught sight of the rain, we would run to meet it. It’s looking for us! Would you like to play with us, little stream? Yes, yes, let’s go play! You know something? The water is like a magician or a fairy godmother. It’s colorless, takes on the color of things, tastes like life, and brings forth the voice of nature in everything it touches. As it rushed downhill, we would hear the scrub brush and the branches drinking eagerly, thirstily. It would conjure up the whistling of the large and calcinated stones. When the current spread out, the little stones, half out of the water, would sing together a sweet song of babies dressed in white. We would run to meet it. And in order to get down to where it was flat, we would wait at a two-meter waterfall that took the water over an enormous crag, which slapped strongly like a dry tongue and then noisily continued to drink. We continued to run.

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