Friday, September 6, 2019

the last book I ever read (What You Have Heard Is True by Carolyn Forché, excerpt twelve)

from What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forché:

Alfredo drove slowly, so close to the avocado trees that their branches brushed the roof. Just before pulling into the street we saw them, three men, hunched over a taxicab that was idling with its doors open, three men whose automatic weapons were aimed at our windshield. They wore black masks. Alfredo does not remember that part. He is already grinding the gears into reverse, whipping the car sideways against the wall, and calling me to get out and run back to the casita. I hear voices shouting underwater, the slamming of car doors, a long squeal of tires. Water silences the world. I’m running through the avocado trees, losing first one shoe and then the other, tree to tree until I reach the casita and push through the unlocked door. I didn’t know where Alfredo was or what I would do if he didn’t return. I didn’t know if anyone was behind me among the trees, or whether the taxi in the road had been the vehicle to squeal away. In dreams to come, the windshield is shattered over and over in a spray of light, but now I’m in the casita and out of breath, wildly searching for a place to hide where there was none.

It was only minutes that I was alone before Alfredo arrived, ghost faced and leaning back against the door to close it behind him.

“Death squad,” he whispered, catching his breath.

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