“First Day” from Along the River: An Anthology of Voices from the Rio Grande Valley.

The panic began creeping into my body from the moment I pulled into the gravel parking lot at Josephina Aguilar Elementary School. Mr. Hernández, the head janitor, was out in a reflective orange vest directing the swarm of pick-ups and 70’s-era gas-guzzlers, herding the students into the gym that served as a holding pen until the day officially began. The school buses pulled around back, discharging dozens more students.  As I waded through the crush of students into the still-empty hallways, I felt a tension branch up through my chest cavity, into my deltoids and neck, spreading outward until it had reached my hands, which I held clenched to try and make the shaking go away.

In Print Only:

“Birth Story” in Along the River 2: More Voices from the Rio Grande. Donna, TX: VAO Press, 2013.

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