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by Tara Isabel Zambrano

I pass by the church one more time and confess another sin. I yawn and let the sunlight cleanse my mouth. It is almost 9 am and the roads are still wet from last night's storm - I think of the gun in my glove compartment. If its metal would be still warm, if it'd still hold the blueprints of the three lives. A busted deal.

There is a railroad crossing ahead and an old building next to it.  A goods train goes by now and then. Cars of different sizes, shapes linked together, sliding over iron rails, traveling unknown distances. Like the drug lords I killed last night. You never know which one will derail and bring the whole thing down. But once you kill a man, it is difficult to measure the damage you've done. A bullet not only tears through a body, but a world, concentric to yours and the stench of human blood crawls up the beer bottles, the cigarette stubs, over every living body. It is the stink you carry, whether you run, walk, eat or even sleep. But you don't stop. You cannot stop. Like a fast train- its momentum balanced on the slippery tracks, you go past life, no matter how many heavens come tearing down and sink in the belly of the earth.

There is a shower inside the old building. Although there is always water in my patrol car, I’ll clean myself and watch the blood rinse off my knees and down the drain. Then burn the bodies and the money (since it is marked). When I pass by the church, I’ll thank the Lord and go home and play with my boys. After dinner, type and print my report, and spend the next few days in the precinct- talking to interns, drinking coffee out of Styrofoam mugs in an all-wood room, attend a course on the latest drug laws. And if I am lucky, I’ll find some chocolate covered pretzels in my partner's drawer and imagine that there is a roast waiting for me at home.

And the night will stop being a black hole of confessions. At least for some time.

 

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