utter obscenities or profanities
Aunt Jo is dressed up in too-tight jeans and a nice bright shirt for the first time since I arrived, and she has guests in the living room—four men who smoke and
curse just as much as Pri.
a raised structure on which sacrifices to a god are made
I’m sitting on the edge of Chantal’s bed, waiting for Donna to do my hair, when Pri comes in and stands right in front of my
a recognition of meritorious service
And we always say his name in
the basic recurring unit in a piece of music
Everyone dips and sways to the
I’m sure of it because he has the same
stance, the same gait.
a person's manner of walking
I’m sure of it because he has the same stance, the same
overcome the wildness of; make docile and tractable
Dray is putting her in a headlock to
tame that dragon.
move along very quickly
As we all enter the house and Dray and Kasim
zoom off into the night, Bad Leg finishes his song with these words:
Love me to the moon and back.
an area wholly or partly surrounded by walls or buildings
Is it because you are a mambo—a Vodou priestess who held ceremonies in the
courtyard of a Christian NGO building?
morally objectionable or wicked
I’ve searched my memory for all the
sinful things I’ve done.
the state of being capable of producing offspring
Was the lwa of love and
fertility, Ezili, mad at me for that?
Matant Jo misses you so much that she is
incapable of doing anything for herself.
hang in the air; fly or be suspended above
Chantal’s clock says it’s three thirty in the morning, and Bad Leg’s voice eases through the locked windows and thick curtains to
hover above my air mattress.
a lamp consisting of a flame directed at a cylinder of lime
Chantal’s window faces the front of the house, so I see Bad Leg to the far left, still sitting on the overturned plastic bucket with a streetlight shining over him like a
undamaged in any way
My left leg was still
intact, all right, but its soul was all gone. Couldn’t move it, bend it, kick.
a way of regarding situations or topics
“Smart cookie. It’s always good to get an inside
perspective, you know?”
complex system of paths in which it is easy to get lost
But my smile quickly fades as I realize that Papa Legba may open doors, but sometimes he leads you through a
a building where diplomats live or work
“But the American
embassy gave her a visa. She didn’t do anything wrong,” I insist.
speed up the progress of; facilitate
“Fabiola, we can get her out. And we can
expedite the process for her to obtain a green card. She won’t have to hide once she’s here. She can live and work legally. Isn’t that what she wants? What you both want?”
beat through cleverness
I remember how Manman would
outwit those vagabon in suits who would offer expedited visas in exchange for things that are not meant to be given away for visas.
completely unordered and unpredictable and confusing
Bottom line: no one around here is gonna talk. So this all becomes like some sort of
He starts the car but lets it
a drama set to music
The café across the street from the
an ability to understand the meaning of something
“Who said I was talking about you? Did you hear me say Fabulous? No. See? You need to work on your English
a slight suggestion or vague understanding
But how could I even have a
glimmer of happiness right now with my mother in jail for no reason?
light informal conversation for social occasions
If my mother didn’t cook, we’d go to a neighbor’s house to get a plate of food in exchange for good neighborhood
round flatbread that can open into a pocket for filling
I don’t like the
pita bread, and the bean dip is too cold. Hummus, they call it.
a thick spread made from mashed chickpeas
I don’t like the pita bread, and the bean dip is too cold.
Hummus, they call it.
devours a chicken breast topped with cabbage and pickles and other things I can’t identify.
imparting vitality and energy
Coca-Cola or Pepsi is only
refreshing at the end of a long hot day.
able to read and write
You’re asking me if I’m
an uneasy feeling of mental painfulness or distress
I smile on the inside because I want to hold on to this bit of
discomfort between us for a while.
the most important person in a group or undertaking
But I ain’t no
kingpin, know what I’m saying? So it’s just favors here and there.
touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner
I let his eyes
caress me, until he reaches over to move my braid away from my cheek.
a suggestion offered for acceptance or rejection
Everything and everyone swims around my mind like ghosts in a haunted house—the detective lady and her
an atmospheric system in which air circulates rapidly
I watch it bend and stretch like a slow-turning
cyclone until it stops at the street signs—where Joy Road meets American Street.
not circulating or flowing
It’s beginning to feel as if I’m speaking to
stagnant air—the spirits are just standing there without delivering my message to God.
the trait of extreme cruelty
“Oh, y’all got police
to or in a foreign country
I had to fight a lot, because people knew we were getting money from family
the study of the structure of animals
anatomy & physiology class tells me how the human body works, but it can’t tell me how the human mind works—not the brain, but the thoughts and memories.
the science dealing with the functioning of organisms
My anatomy &
physiology class tells me how the human body works, but it can’t tell me how the human mind works—not the brain, but the thoughts and memories.
a person who comes from a foreign country
According to my papers, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m not a citizen. I’m a “resident
establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
“There are some interesting ideas here, but they’re unsubstantiated. You need to gather some sources, use quotes, and add a ‘Works Cited’ page. Use textual evidence.”
relating to or based on writing
“There are some interesting ideas here, but they’re unsubstantiated. You need to gather some sources, use quotes, and add a ‘Works Cited’ page. Use
advocating or engaged in overthrow of the government
I feel attacked because I wrote down everything I knew about the Haitian
revolutionary hero Toussaint L’Ouverture and why he is important to me.