With the Village by Jenn Gutierrez
With the Village
There is no art in cutthroat competition, the way our daily lives pit one against the other. In a choir, honor bestowed upon the solos. In fútbol, a lead scorer, perhaps a goalie. I spend my days traveling. From one village expert to another, past slow down signs, children at play, I ask for guidance. It is lost. As lost as the maxim, “It takes a village,” which implies a trust we are too narrow to bestow and is as ungraspable now as gratitude toward service. I lived in a city that burned and witnessed a catalyst for forgotten transgressions. It was a canyon filled with homes, filled with villagers who inched their stations up higher, and still higher. Beyond the ridge, their lower counterparts sat removed—but heat and ash descended, and the fleeing engulfed all in its wake. The freeway exits filled with beaters and luxury models alike, the colors of paint blurred, and the sun glowed red through a screen of choking black. Together they crawled—one mass, past political signs deeming one carload better, more wealthy, than the next. And when the rain falls steady now, we rejoin in the commonality of floodwaters—soothing throats too keen to cut.
© Jenn Gutierrez
Jenn Gutiérrez holds an M.F.A. in English and Writing from Long Island University. Gutiérrez’s first book, Weightless, was published in 2005. Her second collection, Silence Imbibed, was released from Anaphora Literary Press (2011). Previous work has appeared in The Texas Review, The Writer’s Journal, The Acentos Review, Bacopa Literary Review, Verdad Magazine, and the Flycatcher Literary Journal.
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