“Tap! Tap!” soft on the white green Border Patrol van passenger window/.

The officer, surprised, looks up from texting, and I ask him if I may go out the dusty Levee Road

to look at the new railroad bridge to Mexico, and, be fair, from Mexico, first in 106 years.

He says that’d be fine and off I go, and in five minutes there it is: straight and narrow dark steel

and white wire fencing above a narrow point in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo.

Green banks, green brush, green trees, green sorghum and cotton plants in fresh planted bottom


I can’t get Emiliano Zapata out of my mind, and he’s there more than Mexican narco leaders,

corrupt politicians, various military units.

I drop all the evil on Mexico …prejudiced, unwarranted ….

Give The United States a good dose, too ….

A hot southeast wind comes on strong, and the yellow sun at noon burns.

Who can fault Border Patrol agents for staying in their AC-always-on vehicles.

I leave the Levee Road, pass a sorghum, cotton, cabbage farm repair shed – so cool and dark

inside where combines and tractors get attention.

Down the Migrant Highway, 281, Deep South Texas to Canada, also Military Road, back to the

1830s (Texas-Mexican War), 1840s (United States-Mexican War), Mexican Revolution/World

War One United States-Mexican tensions, Texas Rangers-Mexican tensions, and the now,

migrants, drugs, helicopters, those white-green vans …drones soon ….

To the United States Immigration Customs x-ray building, where – I would learn in several

minutes – a closed meeting to settle the railroad building contracts is in progress.

I want water from what seems to be an outdoor water fountain.

And then a big man, Texas belt buckle, comes from the building and tells me that the supposed

water fountain is an eye-wash station for chemical spills from the soon-to-go-and-come railroad

tanker cars.

I ask him how he knew I was outside.

“Easy. The camera picked you up the second you came through the gate!” he says.

Big cars, some with United States Department Of Homeland Security government plates. fill the

parking lot below the x-ray building.

I leave, and return to Zapata and add imagined train whistles ….

Yes, there are rumors of the United States and Mexican presidents coming to the bridge opening,

but Zapata and train whistles trump them ….
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid-April 2015

Author: Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners – when asked!


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