The day after the full moon brings
another Moon Prize this month: The forty-fourth Moon Prize,
goes to Mara Buck's compelling "Chain Link."
by Mara Buck
A child's voice echoes in my ears, in my bedroom, in the night, his
faint cries weaving within my nightmares. It is a distinct voice, a pleading voice with an accent from the lands to the south, lands
of palm trees and chili peppers and hot days and
nights with strumming guitars. Lands of machine guns and drugs and terror. Have
you heard this voice, too? Or have you heard another? Can we listen closer to these voices so together we can ride our white
horses to the border and like a fairy tale gather the
children who cry in the night, and transport them to a place where children can
still dream the dreams of childhood? Every night Esteban calls to me.
My name is Esteban Gonzalez and I'm scared. I used to be scared of
the dark. Now I'm scared of
the light that never leaves. It bounces on all the silver blankets. I see spots even when I close my eyes.
And the noise never leaves.
Crying. Slamming. Moaning. I moan too. I cry for my
My Papi used to tell me, "Ask for the jefe to help you." I ask to see the jefe with the tall
wife who never smiles with her eyes.
The woman with the keys laughs at
"The jefe? You mean El Presidente! He hasn't time for beaners like you, you pissant scum. Your Papi is a
criminal in jail forever and you'll be here in this place forever until you die or run out
into the desert and rot."
No beaner. My
name is Esteban.
Esteban Gonzalez. I'm so afraid I'll forget it. If I forget my name, then how will Papi ever
Take me to the
jefe and the lady who never smiles with her eyes.
I do not know
where I am.
I am Esteban
Gonzalez and I am lost.
* * * * *
Mara Buck writes, paints, and
rants in a self-constructed hideaway in the Maine woods. She hopes to leave
someday. Winner of The Raven Prize for non-fiction,
The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Prize, The Moon Prize. Other recent
first places include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Poetry Prize, The Binnacle International
Prize. Awarded/short-listed by the Faulkner/Wisdom Society, Hackney
Awards, Balticon, Confluence, and others, with work
in numerous literary magazines and print anthologies. The ubiquitous novel lurks.