GAME DAY

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A motorcyclist wearing a Colombian flag
rumbles around cars; the yellow, red and blue stripes
tear off his back like cartoon speed lines.

It is morning, which means the fog over the mountains is still dense
as is the traffic beneath it.
There are only a few hours to spare before the game.
Plastic tri-colored horns attached to flailing bodies
hang out of car windows. Dedicated lips take breaks
only to chant and howl and laugh at the thick clouds
which couldn’t dampen the mood if they tried.

A crooked, yellow grin of Colombian soccer jerseys
dangle like loose teeth in a line
over the open back of a shipping truck;
its massive wheels clanking across the worn highway.
For a moment the sun squints through
and illuminates the inside of the back of this truck.
There are benches on both sides
of which are covered in entirety
by two rows of soldiers, uniformed in camouflage.
There are four people standing, as well, in the far back
and each and every one of them
is playing one instrument or another.
Traditional salsa music–
quieted some by the highway traffic–
shakes, rattles and thumps
from accordions and maracas and drums
as their guns rest, off-duty, in their holsters.
It is a tune of celebration.
A light mist in the air is the softest of instruments.
It dampens my face as I ride my bike behind the truck.
Nearing it, I lift one palm off the handlebar
and wave.
Managing to not compromise the rhythm of the music,
they wave back.  Today, there are no teams
in this country. We are all fighting
for the same thing.

If we win or lose,
we do it together.

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