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Adán Paredes
Anhelos Extraviados Lost Longing

With its hypnotic sound and infinite blue, open water attracts the visionary gaze. And as it balances the shine of gold on the horizon, it dares the gaze to walk on its back. Days multiply the routes; promises trick the brave or the desperate who flee death, the lovers of life and the dreamers of lucid steps. Tenacious paths of fragile froth satisfy time, weaving hope in undulating webs that link ancient lands, sisters in night and pain, symptoms of an ailing geography, whose death rattles uproot peoples in rivers of injustice, flowing out into deaf oblivion—that of the vast desert dressed as the sea—briefly named, but immense in thought, endless to traverse.


The quiet swell of the sand courses through it all with patient calmness, and the tracks no longer follow tracks but lost longings. And the migrants, those present-day castaways, sink in mud mirages or crash against cliffs of intolerance—walls frozen with death that cannot, however, sink dreams. Because will is stronger than any border, and transforms all obstacles into bridges, altars upon which collectivity melts in one single sacrifice, where the sacred deer offers its florid horns and raises its body as shield, surrendering itself to feed the future of its people.


Pilgrims between two worlds, the errant people hold on to distant memories, amnesiac balsam that helps to bury, if only for an instant, the horror of furtively boarding the steel monster that slices through earth and dignity, devouring memories and innocence in its wake as it roars on a scar of railways that point to the north, the eternal and inclement north. As witnesses of the beasts’ voracity, there remain the bites that rip though bodies, belongings, and lives—but never hopes—and with them on board, the shadows of travelers drift in the middle of a limitless landscape.


Mute fencepost cactus, curious saguaros, vigilant giant cardons: columns of cacti conform prickly reefs, the stumps of giants with dry and rough skin, vestiges of moisture cut against the clean blue; life that watches with commiseration the strangers who ask for refuge. The desert cocoons in its own way: adopting those who recognize him as father, and generously granting wisdom to the nomads who end up inheriting his nomad features. Land lacerated by high temperatures covers its children with the skin of archaic peoples, mutilated limbs like stones without names, flat gazes, clean of all intention, free of all obstacle. The children of the desert leave their old skin behind; only a handful of rock memories tie them to their distant names, remnants of an unlikely cemetery of ancestors who appear once in a while as skeletons of luggage and backpacks, integrated like chameleons to the surrounding palette and textures. Gaunt leather, rusted hardware, washed-out and frayed cloth are the vestiges of other journeys in which the castaways recognize themselves and are reunited with those who came before them in a bond stronger than blood.


When the rise and fall of steps cannot keep migrants afloat one more instant, they are submerged in a night of glacial currents, and at its bottom, observe paused processions of light, schools of stars with smiling teeth that swim ever lower, as lines with tempting bait look for their last sigh. However, some fugitive twinkle defies the old routes and strays away from the rest in search of freedom and by doing so, illuminates with greater intensity the long shadows that point to the heavens. Signs fill the void with new longing, and so, those who are bent on life hear the voice of those savior lighthouses announcing auspiciously, “Water!” –a cry that scares away the oppressive darkness and pushes the fallen to take a new-born inhalation, divine breath that encourages the migrant to keep on going one more day.


Javier Ballina Viramontes

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