At first the Shepherd came to Santigo in a dream years ago while in the army choosing the Atlantic and the Queen Mary instead of life on the llano in San Luis. It was the first time the Vaquero can remember dreaming. Never had the head for it or so he thought. Seemed like something for children or a luxury of time. But the Shepherd came to him on horseback alongside his dog companion. The girl nipped at the Vaquero’s feet and he stepped and jerked away from the animal. In the dream the mounted Shepherd with the lathered face and neck and unkempt mountain clothes reminded him of the Vaquero’s path and work—his family and the wars going on at home and in the fields of his Jefe’s lands. The Shepherd laughs and speaks pointedly of home and duty and what makes the entire situation feel more real than dreamlike is the sun and skies surrounding the old man on horseback. He cannot speak but only listen to the man who moves steady toward the moonlight. Your people need you, Vaquero. Where are you from your people? This Army of yours is nowhere in your thoughts. Not like your people. Come home. Outside of his bunk the Vaquero becomes seasick and vomits onto the deck as he watches the horizon. USO women are handing out donuts and coffee and the Vaquero hears one remark, Lookit they’re sending babies!
Published by john paul jaramillo
John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois. View all posts by john paul jaramillo