come between so as to be hindrance or obstacle
He led her to the tall grass around the pool and held the reins while she grazed, watching how she took great mouthfuls, working the bit with her tongue so that it didn’t
interfere with chewing the grass.
inborn pattern of behavior often responsive to stimuli
Maybe the dawn woke the
instinct in the dim memory of the blood when horses had been as wild as the deer and at sunrise went into the trees and thickets to hide.
marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
Until the previous night, old Betonie’s vision of stars, cattle, a woman, and a mountain had seemed remote; he had been
wary, especially after he found the stars, and they were in the north.
move about aimlessly or without any destination
The last time Josiah had seen them, the cattle had been
wandering southwest along the boundary between the reservation and state land.
a belt with loops or slots for carrying small hand tools
He helped Tayo stitch a leather
holster for the pliers one evening after supper, and he reminded him that you never knew when you might be traveling some place and a fence might get in your way.
try to prevent; show opposition to
He worked on his knees, cutting away the wire at ground level, where it continued under the surface six inches deep to
discourage coyotes and wolves from digging under it.
someone injured or killed in a military engagement
The destroyers had only to set it into motion, and sit back to count the
But it was more than a body count; the lies
devoured white hearts, and for more than two hundred years white people had worked to fill their emptiness; they tried to glut the hollowness with patriotic wars and with great technology and the wealth it brought.
designed to mislead either deliberately or inadvertently
But the mare stumbled and threw him hard against the saddle horn, and he realized how
deceptive the moonlight was; exposed root tips and dark rocks waited in deep shadows cast by the moon.
be present or associated with an event or entity
A strange paralysis
accompanied his thoughts; a sudden overwhelming fatigue took hold, and his heart pounded furiously, and he panted trying to walk only a few feet from the place he had tied the mare.
the quality of clear water
Inside him the muddy water turmoil was settling to the bottom, and streaks of
clarity were slowly emerging.
at a continuous rate or pace
In the distance up ahead he occasionally caught glimpses of the cattle, trotting
steadily; they appeared in clearings and disappeared into oak thickets again, still following the south boundary fence to the east.
made easier to bear
relieved because he feared leaving people he loved.
collect or gather
accumulated in deep layers of years, and his feet sank under the new copper leaves that had already fallen this year.
look down on with disdain
The people had been taught to
despise themselves because they were left with barren land and dry rivers.
separation into component parts
But the effects were hidden, evident only in the sterility of their art, which continued to feed off the vitality of other cultures, and in the
dissolution of their consciousness into dead objects: the plastic and neon, the concrete and steel.
easily broken or damaged or destroyed
And what little still remained to white people was shriveled like a seed hoarded too long, shrunken past its time, and split open now, to expose a
fragile, pale leaf stem, perfectly formed and dead.
incapable of being gone across or through
Under his feet the dark mountain clay was saturated, making it slippery and soft; the ranch roads would be
impassable with sticky mud, and it would be days before the cowboys could patrol the fences again.
capable of being wounded or hurt
The early storm had caught the tree
vulnerable with leaves that caught the snow and held it in drifts until the branches dragged the ground.
make unclear, indistinct, or blurred
The mesas to the east were
obscured by veils of falling snow, and the sky above them was dark blue.
But overhead the snowflakes became
sparse and floated down slowly on their own weight, now that the wind was gone.
an aperture or hole that opens into a bodily cavity
It was only a continuation of the deep canyon
orifice that revealed the interior layers of the mountain plateau.
withstand the force of something
As they walked closer, the cows crowded closer together, and some of them lowered their heads and snorted as if they were
fending off coyotes.
the action of corrupting something
The anger made him lightheaded, but he did not talk about this other dimension of their
perversion which, like the hunting of the mountain lion, was their idea of “sport” and fun.
bring to mind
Sometimes Auntie looked at him in a way that could only mean she was
recalling the winters before, when he had lain in the bed vomiting and crying.
lacking conscious awareness of
But he was looking the other way,
oblivious to the scuffling and noise, opening the blades on his pocketknife, one by one, and stabbing them into the juniper post.
deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
But it was not the green color of the jungles,
suffocating and strangling the earth.
reproduce someone's behavior or looks
He found flowers that had no bees, and gathered yellow pollen gently with a small blue feather from Josiah’s pouch; he
imitated the gentleness of the bees as they brushed their sticky-haired feet and bellies softly against the flowers.
descend into or as if into some soft substance or place
She was with him again, a heartbeat unbroken where time
subsided into dawn, and the sunset gave way to the stars, wheeling across the night.
extend out or project in space
He nodded at Robert, but he was involved with other things: memories and shifting sounds heard in the night, diamond patterns, black on white; the energy of the designs spiraled deep, then
protruded suddenly into three-dimensional summits, their depth and height dizzy and shifting with the eye.
a cherished desire
ambition is to gut human beings while they are still breathing, to hold the heart still beating so the victim will never feel anything again.
call forth, as an emotion, feeling, or response
Only destruction is capable of
arousing a sensation, the remains of something alive in them; and each time they do it, the scar thickens, and they feel less and less, yet still hungering for more.
The rain and wind were overtaking her, rubbing away the details of her legs; the sun was bleaching her hooves into faint outlines,
merging into the cliff.
move or draw together at a certain location
All things seemed to
converge there: roads and wagon trails, canyons with springs, cliff paintings and shrines, the memory of Josiah with his cattle; but the other was distinct and strong like the violet-flowered weed that killed the mule, and the black markings on the cliffs, deep caves along the valley the Spaniards followed to their attack on Acoma.
collect discarded or refused material
salvaged lumber and tin from the shack, but they had no use for the barbed wire any more; the last bony cattle wandering the dry canyons had died in choking summer duststorms.
the point above the observer directly opposite the nadir
A transition was about to be completed: the sun was crossing the
zenith to a winter place in the sky, a place where prayers of long winter nights would call out the long summer days of new growth.
when the sun is at its greatest distance from the equator
Their deadly ritual for the autumn
solstice would have been completed by him.
intensity or forcefulness of expression
At home the people would blame liquor, the Army, and the war, but the blame on the whites would never match the
vehemence the people would keep in their own bellies, reserving the greatest bitterness and blame for themselves, for one of themselves they could not save.
unique or specific to a person or thing or category
It was while he was sitting there, facing southeast, that he noticed how the four windows along the south wall of the kiva had a
particular relationship to this late autumn position of the sun.
But she said that now the women at Church came to her privately, after mass or before the bingo games, to ask her how she had
managed all those years to face the troubles which had been dropped into her lap.