Guns and Tortilla Soup
by Claire Vogel Camargo

On I-35 at the bridge in Laredo, border guards wave
Frank and I across to Nuevo Laredo after a quick perusal
of our car and papers. Twenty-six kilometers beyond
is the serious border crossing exam of our passports, car,
plan to drive to Mexico City. Guns and dogs in sight.

Stopping for lunch in Sabinas Coahuila, we eat
machacada con huevo. Buy Glorias, soft leche dulce
candies, and jars of cajeta. Hit the road again,
biting into the Glorias and groaning pleasure.

In Matehuala, we have to stop, get out, and stand
in the darkening evening. Six young federales
with machine guns surround us as our car is searched.
I pray they do not have twitchy fingers; that they do
have morals, judgement, control. Only by airplane
if we come again, I promise myself.

In San Luis Potosi, we stroll around the central zocalo
with its ornate benches and chatting couples, absorb
the easy rhythm, admire colonial architecture. I savor
pungent smells, flavor of enchiladas potosinas,
and a brown smoky tortilla soup spiced by cascabel chiles.
Nothing like the tortilla soups in Texas.

Tomorrow, in Mexico City, I wonder if the tortilla soup
will have a different taste. Will armed police surround us,
ask questions, wield power with unreadable dark eyes?

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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