a heavy, dull sound
Just as she says this, Dray grabs Donna’s neck and shoves her against the car with a loud
make a thrusting forward movement
I want to
lunge at Dray’s face, but Pri has beat me to it and is already yelling and cursing at him at the top of her lungs.
bright with a steady but subdued shining
Dray, with his sunglasses even as night spreads across the sky, and his gold cross
gleaming, and his love/hate for my cousin, reminds me of the Iwa Baron Samedi, guardian of the cemetery—keeper of death.
a person who cares for persons or property
Dray, with his sunglasses even as night spreads across the sky, and his gold cross gleaming, and his love/hate for my cousin, reminds me of the Iwa Baron Samedi,
guardian of the cemetery—keeper of death.
the general estimation that the public has for a person
reputation sticks to you like another layer of skin.
a severe tropical cyclone usually with heavy rains and winds
He looks really good, but that car makes my insides feel like a
a small part remaining after the main part no longer exists
I sniff and sniff, searching the air for some
remnant of Dray and his bitter-mint-and-sweet-smoke smell...
genre of American music that developed in the 20th century
He turns on the radio and I brace myself for that heavy bass music. But it’s something different. Something like
jazz, but still hip-hop.
a creation of the highest excellence
“J Dilla. Detroit legend. He died when I was little. I’m into the
classics, but all Detroit, all day. Motown, J Dilla, Slum Village.”
like or suggestive of a flame
My skin crawls, and suddenly what was just a smooth hip-hop song now sounds like heavy conga drums—a downbeat rhythm, like for the Petwo Iwas, the
fiery spirits signaling danger ahead.
lacking excess flesh
A poster near the entrance has a photo of a
lean, muscular dancing black couple and the name ALVIN AILEY.
the unwritten stories and proverbs and songs of a culture
I’ve seen live dancers before, at
folklore festivals in Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes.
belonging to the middle class
It’s as if I’m mingling with the
bourgeois businesspeople and entertainers from Petionville.
radiant light drawn around the head of a saint
I keep my eyes on one beautiful couple where the woman’s hair sits high and round on top of her head like Jesus’s
have a positive impact on
That’s ’cause I was trying to
impress you, not them.
a wheeled vehicle that can be pulled by a car or truck
“All that matters is that you’re bougie on the inside. You could be from poor-ass Haiti or live in a
trailer park, but as long as you have a bougie heart, you can aim for the finer things in life.”
a perfumed liquid made of essential oils and alcohol
It’s a mix of sweetness and too-strong
someone employed to conduct others
When he hands over the two tickets to the
usher, I see that they cost over one hundred dollars each.
intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one
I forget every single thing in the world, every
heartache, every tear, every pain as I watch that performance.
so celebrated as to having taken on the nature of a myth
“Oh, yeah. The
legendary Haitian Phil.”
move gently or carefully
My skin aches for that sizzling midday Port-au-Prince sun when sweat would
ease down my forehead and back.
run or flow slowly, as in drops or in an unsteady stream
Drops of anger
trickle out, little by little, as if every single setback over these past few weeks has exploded.
an unfortunate happening that thwarts or hinders
Drops of anger trickle out, little by little, as if every single
setback over these past few weeks has exploded.
an unpleasant or disastrous destiny
Word on his soul is word on my tomb
Word on my tomb does not spell
a circular projection sticking out from the crown of a hat
I keep walking, and when I look to the left, Papa Legba is standing there on the corner of Dover and American, leaning on his cane with rain dripping from the
brim of his hat.
I close my eyes to
utter Papa Legba’s name for help because I recognize that voice.
cry weakly or softly
He pulls their leashes and they
filter in from outside the club.
break down due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack
As I run back home, my heart leaps out of my chest, my head pounds, and I almost
collapse on the front steps.
I close my eyes and
a ruler who is unconstrained by law
Our world opened up because a long-time
dictator was thrown out of Haiti.
pass from physical life
And for Valerie...if she did not
perish in that ocean, then there is more for her to do in this life.
the process of adapting to something
Finally, he exhales and nods. “I know. It’s an
adjustment,” he says.
the structure of the skeleton supporting the lower limbs
She pushes her
pelvis back and forth.
being of delicate or slender build
Her voice is not as deep, but her
slim arms are all hard, tight muscle.
done or made using whatever is available
This is a
makeshift altar for Ezili with all the things she loves in the world.
harming someone in retaliation for something they have done
“Ezili-Danto, the Iwa of
vengeance for women. She has the scars on her face, too. And she carries a knife. She will cut a man or woman if she feels betrayed.”
a short knife with a pointed blade
“Yeah, well, I ain’t stabbing my man with no
dagger,” Donna says.
complete attention; intense mental effort
concentration, he doesn’t even look up.
state of violent mental agitation
Donna pulls me up the stairs and into her bedroom, where it’s a
frenzy of finding the right outfit for my very new hair and my very new face.
push against gently
nudge Donna, who keeps her eyes on what’s going on, too.
being or made softer or less loud or clear
The music is
muted in here.
move through text or graphics on a screen
I check Dray’s messages and
scroll up really fast.
scan the messages that say: Come thru.
secure the release of (someone) by providing security
Did Q have to
bail out your white girl, too?