by Bernie Toledo
(Chula Vista, CA)
Walking along Alscasia Avenue (an abnormally quiet street, even though there are many many many inhabitants), I listen to my music and enjoy my exercise in the sunny, yet cool weather.
I know there are many many many - I see them at the store, at the gas station, at the taco shop ordering those fat and lumpily delicious burritoes, filled with sizzling carne asada, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a touch of fresh and aromatic cilantro - still wet.
The cilantro reminds me of getting
tacos at the border as kid, where the taquero sprinkled large pinches of cilantro, waving his dark hand over my tacos de lengua like a magician.
As I stored the taco shop, cilantro, and border into the back of my mind, I continued at a happy pace down Alscasia Avenue listening to a remix of my favorite song.
Everyday, for one hour, I walk.
The same path, the same dirt, the same chapparal and coniferous trees. Occasionally, there'd be a piece of illegally placed garbage sitting on the sidewalk waiting for someone to pick it up.
See, the garbage didn't get there on its own. Did it? Well this is more proof that there are many many many inhabitants on Alscasia Avenue.
But, why are they never out walking down the street? Did I miss some important details about the Avenue and walking down it daily?
There it was. Laying flat, exposed on Alscasia Avenue's long sidewalk. The coarse light blue fabric of the twin mattress revealed itself under the large blood stains that looked dry from being in the sun too long. Set against the light blue fabric, the dry blood stains take on a brown and copper hue and almost glow in the sun. The tears beyond the blood and fabric reveal a tragedy: a crime scene that took place elsewhere, but is now bound to Alscasia.
Many many many inhabitants, and I now know their secrets and where they've been.