Topography of Detention
BY ANA AVENDANO
The mountains here were formed much in the same way everything is—from lava.
Scalding hot anger determined to run its course.
But the lava here they keep contained. Trapped between cinder block walls, in chains, unable to rage then cool on its intended path.
In here, they like to keep it cold. To kill germs, prevent disease, they say. But everything here is already sick.
Under these conditions, the lava is forced to cool contained. And when it cools, it forms rock. Boulders. Mountains.
When lava cools inside you the rock that emerges makes you tough. Strong. And Heavy. It becomes so hard to move. There is hardly any room for you to hold anything else besides the rock.
For some, when the lava cools to rock, it forms jagged peaks. They poke your insides out until you’re left laying on the floor, bleeding out. But, “You can’t go to medical unless you submitted a written request before noon.”
So you lay and you die and you hope that they’ll at least do you the favor of sending your body home since they wanted it out of their country so damn much.
Although it is scarcely known within the scientific community, there is lava that will not cool. They keep it locked away in rooms specially cold and specially small. But that only helps it boil.
They’re scared that one day it will erupt. I hope to be there when it does.
It is hard for others to notice eruptions unless they’re covered in ashes. And OTERO is so far removed from the world that even the largest of eruptions will hardly be heard. Yet, while we may not have to deal with the ashes, we will be responsible for the graves.
This is how mountains here form.
I know they want to break them down.
Break down the rock into pebbles too weak to be throwing stones.
You and I, we have always loved admiring the mountains. We stand in awe. But not too close. Not close enough.
Ana Avendano (she/her) is originally from Mexico City, but feels most at home in Chicago's lakeshore beaches. She graduated in 2019 from Loyola University Chicago with a B.A in Political Science. She serves at Las Americas in El Paso. Her career goal is to reform immigration policy in the U.S. In her spare time, she enjoys ranking the best cheeseburgers.
1/15/2020 07:40:28 pm
And, she volunteers on Sundays to help others. Thank you, Ana, for this hard, HARD reflection on a life in OTERO, and for being a Loretto Volunteer this year. I loved sharing some suppertime conversation with you. Thank you for bringing lovingkindness with you into every setting.
10/31/2020 07:57:42 am
Such fine writing....and hard work. Thank you, Ana. Mary
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