The Star

Jose Francisco Fonseca


The stars and full moon whistle. The whistle from the speaker stops over the outdoor yellow light. Rosa and Ellena stand outside under the light, next to a bright open side-door of the grey maquiladora. They pass a cigarette, letting the droning of sewing machines hum over them. The sound of gunfire flickers in meekly but it’s saturated by the droning.

Fuck my fingers, Ellena says.

They hurt? Rosa says.

Worse than yesterday.

I soak mine in salty water, it seems to help.

Ellena open and closes her fingers. The bone rubs roughly together, the skin stretches with resistances. Any moment they will rust in place and never move again.

Sonia’s son is missing, Rosa says.

You’re shitting me? Ellena asks.

Yeah, that’s why she’s not working. He went to buy water, got thrown into a trunk, no one seen him since.

He was associated?

Whose son isn’t?

Headlights blind them for a second, then they dim. The sound of a growling trunk comes from the dim headlights. Men move in the night as half shadows taking out boxes from the back of the truck, carrying them to a half open dock door. One of the men whistles toward Ellena and Rosa. The others laugh in the dark.

Fucking dogs, Ellena says.

Ellena adjusts her bra to perk up her breast, adjusts her jeans to perk up her ass. Rosa lights another cigarette, then taps Ellena on the shoulder and nods her head.

They walk around the corner of the maquiladora, the drone of the sewing machines becomes muffled, the growling truck and laughing men fade. A full moon glows over the silver outline of other maquiladoras, chain linked fences, and other women smoking around them. Sprawling some distances away, Juarez pulses with orange and white street lamp lights, with yellow windows lit with desk lamps, and moving white tail lights. Above it a large five point star shimmers on the dark face of a mountain, made with hundreds of light bulbs. It all illuminates the darkness.

Ellena puts an arm around Rose’s shoulder and whispers into her ear. The women giggle before the rattling ricochets of rifles silences them.



Provenance:  Submission.


Jose Francisco Fonseca is a Veteran of the Iraq war who currently lives on the border between Mexico and US.





Sweatshop project” by marissaorton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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