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“TIME a particle” by Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin

Read the original Spanish version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

TIME a particle

by Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin translated by Elayne Petterson

A thirty-three-year-old man, in extreme weather, deserted, fasting, scarce water, scant food, he has a perfect body, it doesn’t matter if he understood the signs beforehand, the pain he feels overwhelms his whole imagination, it is immense, it started in the first hours of the day. Still bewildered in his prayer he asks, without losing consciousness, he looks at the scarlet color of a drop of blood on the palm of his hand, it is the picture of the shadow of suffering. The trunks of the olive trees shudder, the leaves of the trees cry with him. Sky and silence are held in a breath. In the distance the stars plead, sparkle, the light accompanies him with expectation. They sense desecration, it fills the bowels of the earth with trembling and he watches the blood fall from his eyes, he observes drop by drop; a kaleidoscope of horror, yells, hunger, anxiety, unrest, thousands of years under the scarlet shadow on Cain’s doorstep; siege. He stops twenty-one centuries later, broken voices in two giant trucks, shrouded with screams they burst, tens of bodies wrapped in black plastic, boys, men, women, the shouting hurts his stomach, he cries, they cry together. The jasmines around them shake, the sky moans, there is no time it’s all the same.

The wind is perfumed when he awakens, the ritual will begin, his atonement. The men sleep through the longest night. Beyond this time the trailers reek, it is the stench of the hyenas, the corpses are multiplying: Africa, Palestine, Syria, Greece, Turkey, the beaches of Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, inside the window of time, no pain will be distant to him.

He looks at his disciples – wake up – wake up, wake up, he utters three times, he continues his walk. The men will awaken, the stars bristling in the darkest night announce the dawn. The prayers intonate piety, it comes to the awareness of every single mountain, rock, river, flower, animal, to every one of the disciples in the coming centuries. A prayer is heard: As you have been faithful…  so the blood of this age will not touch you…

The leaves fall slowly, the sky and the stars have rhythm, the pain shakes everything. It has begun. The men are still sleeping, they will wake up, HE knows, they will wake up.

The blood falls drop by drop to the earth, the birds shiver, the sea murmurs, beyond in another time; The lion next to the lamb, the bear next to the horse, the asp by the child. All pain, hate, impiety would burn the offender, petrify their faces, only the one who listened has his name. However, everyone heard, not everyone listened.

Tonight carries centuries and centuries in every one of his steps. Only the one who sharpened his ear has his name. He walks step by step through the garden, he waits for a kiss on the cheek.

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