Deep bowls cupped out of the earth—-that was the sequence of valleys that led from the metropolis to the northern seas. Santiago stood within them even as he flashed by in a rented automobile. Such sweeps! Lake and pine mingled in his mind and forged the landscape. But his fire would come. The testing. Santiago shook the thought of the trial from his brains. PRESENTE. HAY QUE ESTAR PRESENTE.
And soon he was. Faced with a crushing carcel experience behind and uncertain interrogation beyond.
“I am bringing in a refugee claimant.”
An exhale that says you are in for a long day. You park the car and walk into the base station. Wait. Wait.
Then the questions. Playing stories. Arguing the truth out and still respecting.
Santiago looked into the eyes of the hawk perched in front of him. Feathers ruffled and gruff beak bent toward defense.
As that sick bird drew itself up, Santiago went mobile. Slices of him started toppling off until he split into thousands of pixillated consciousnesses. And the bird could no longer block him. Santiago, a dust particle on the cramped air hanging in here. Santiago, a vapor seeping beyond the bird’s weak legs. Santiago, in splitting himself asi, moved freely. Santiago. Pilgrim. The bird could no longer see him and he became extinct. Another number. Another statistical entry making this day different than yesterday but not than last Thursday when another one had come in, just as in earlier weeks. Why the numbers, the bird thought, what is this pattern saying? But paperwork kept that question from advancing further. Instead she looked up to see the charged air empty, even unto the doors of her base. Of course, Santiago was still there. But he began moving his retreating center point away from the bird. “Me dicen el clandestino por no llevar papel.” Yo soy el quebra ley. Nowhere to run, only a slight backing away of your center from the green metal table, through the glass base doors and past the orange snowfences. A drawing of those split and scattered parts of yourself that have ridden wind and wave back to where you sit in the dark fir forest. Your feet began to take shape. Hands head heart. Crouched under that great stand of firs upon the sacred mountain, Santiago reintegrated himself.