She could see the pottery shop owner was Mexican, but she did not tell him how she had gotten to Arizona.
There had been sixty of them who met in Reforma to begin the journey through the desert night. They each carried two gallons of water. Their coyote set an impossible pace to cover maximum distance while it was still dark and relatively cool. He had pressed the fence wire down with his boot for her, saying Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos and tipping his hat.
The dawn had lingered for a long time, the sky turning from blue-black to blue-gray until the relentless sun sprang over the horizon, filling the sky with light and immediate heat, miles of desolation all around. The coyote had pointed to a pair of hills in the shimmering distance. Pisinemo, he had said, smiling. They looked no larger than a dog’s teats.
The sun climbed to its zenith, baking them on the shadeless plain, pushing her head down with the weight of its heat. She watched her feet on the dusty rocks, the scrub chaparral and bitterbrush, dried deer grass and a hundred other plants she could name.
As the sun sank in the western sky, many of them were out of water. The old ones and the young ones had already fallen behind. It would be dark soon and the twin hills did not seem any closer.