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Levi Vonk

The Horse Was a Lie (The Horse Is Here With Us Now)

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Levi Vonk | Longreads | August 2018 | 7 minutes (1,927 words)

In the prelude to Mario Chard’s “Caballero,” we are presented with a car crash. We are told that the crash happened in the desert, that there was no one around. Two accounts of the crash exist. The first is a succinct description by the Associated Press:

Eight of the 14 people in the Chevy Suburban died
after it rolled several times on U.S. 191 a few hours
before dawn Monday. Salas-López, originally from
Guatemala, told investigators he swerved to miss a
horse. He was arrested after fleeing into the desert…

The second is a quote from the sergeant investigating the crash:

The passengers say no, he wasn’t swerving to miss a
horse, that he was fondling a female passenger in the
front seat of the vehicle.

At first it seems an all-too-familiar migration narrative, the harsh coalescence of movement and death, of sexual exploitation and isolation, which has become a defining aesthetic of the U.S.-Mexico border. Of course the coyote lies. Of course the victim dies. We find ourselves in bitter but accustomed topography.

Instead, “Say it was a horse,” writes Chard in the first canto of “Caballero,” and we move into stranger territory. Read more…