Photo by C. Alexander

Because the roosters will crow when the air is still cool enough to taste, and the sweat on your brow hasn’t yet been born. At daybreak, you will hear the soft, singing voices of the neighbor women firing up their comals, and soon you will begin to glow in the bright morning light – feeling raw and exposed, like a caterpillar taken too early from its cocoon.

Because your mind will daydream about fresh, handmade tortillas as your ears tune into the parade of sounds passing through your open window: quick footsteps on the sidewalk, children in pinafores calling out to each other over the muffled hum of motor traffic, and countless church bells clanging in the distance.

Because as you walk to the market, you’ll reach out and let your hand run along the smooth stucco exteriors, painted a vibrant, sunflower yellow, or the faded crimson of the evening sky. As you stroll, you will pass wrought iron balconies that frame intricately carved wooden doors, stained the color of black tea, and weathered from generations of burnt sun. The sight of these grand portals will make you melancholy for your Zapatista lover who cried, “Tierra y Libertad” from these very rooftops.

Because soon, you will eat greedily of mangos, using only your teeth; juice dripping down your chin like a wild animal, supping. Like your paisanos, you will become expert at preparing the sweet, red flesh of prickly pears – your fingers deftly evading the wicked hair-like spines of the nopal. And in the evening, the cool night air will be infused with the smoke of baking brick, and you will sip café-con-leche while eating sweet, sticky pastries whose names you can never remember.

Because the dry brown hills surround you, cloistering you from what lies beyond their boundary, and those things you left behind, and when the rainy season finally blows in, these sierras will slowly sprout neighborhoods of soft green cactus. The dust-covered roads will be washed clean in a Sunday afternoon flash flood, catching you in the torrential downpour; baptizing you in the churning street water, while refuse swirls around your ankles.

Because the hills will encircle you, fool you, tell you there is no way through, no way back. They will hold you captive.



© Elle Wonders 2009–2016