a light noise, like the noise of leaves blowing in the wind
I couldn’t sleep for days, convinced that every squeak or
rustle meant that La Llorona was coming to drag me by the hair and kill me in the river.
goods whose trade or possession is prohibited by law
We’d eat one in secret every day after school, as if the candy were some sort of high-stakes
an unexpected but vivid recurrence of a past experience
When I get these
flashbacks, I feel like someone scooped my soul out and trampled it on the dirty ground.
seize and take control without authority
And because they were still hungry and didn’t want to waste food, they picked the hot dogs off the grass and ate them right before a flock of seagulls
liable to sudden unpredictable change
Sometimes they act kind of
erratic, which scares me a little, like the time they were convinced we should crash a party even though the host threatened to kill Juanga over his ex-boyfriend last year.
set apart from others
...she’s going to lose her mind if she’s
sequestered in her apartment any longer.
highly attractive and able to arouse hope or desire
I’m usually up for an adventure, and I’m bored, too, but the idea of being all wet and cold is not at all
a surface excavation for extracting stone or slate
There are no real hills in Chicago, but the park used to be a
quarry, so it has a decent slope.
decorate with needlework
“Oh my God, look at this,” Connor says, and holds up an
embroidered sweater with three cats on it, something an old lady would wear.
a young woman considered charming and beautiful
“I think you should do it. You will be the
belle of the ball.”
any of various small animals or insects that are pests
“Ah, I see. Well, let’s get you some chocolate, and then I will inspect you for
vermin.” Connor says, and pretends to pick a bug out of my hair.
a severe or trying experience
I like makeup and dresses, and I will shave my legs and armpits, but everything else is such an
hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing
The houses are massive, and the streets are lined with
the quality of being reproducible in amount or performance
Bushes and hedges are trimmed with a
precision that seems almost silly.
worn to shreds; or wearing torn or ragged clothing
He’s wearing a Foo Fighters T-shirt, pajama pants, and a pair of moccasins—total suburban white boy—but he’s so hot, I’d like him even if he wore a
tattered garbage sack.
marked by or given to doubt
“Yeah, I’m sure.” I nod.
walk in a proud, confident way
strut around wearing a crown, throw some confetti or something.
unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound
“Sorry,” he says, his voice
I can’t leave the apartment again because Amá decided to
ransack my room to make sure I didn’t have anything else that might be considered scandalous or immoral.
deliberately violating principles of right and wrong
I can’t leave the apartment again because Amá decided to ransack my room to make sure I didn’t have anything else that might be considered scandalous or
a remote or indirect consequence of some action
I don’t care about the
reflecting a lack of pity or compassion
The cold here feels barbaric,
an oval large stadium with tiers of seats
amphitheater is completely deserted, so it’s almost peaceful. The silver architecture looks kind of ridiculous to me, like a spaceship and spiderweb fused together, but everyone always takes pictures of it like it’s some sort of masterpiece.
inclined to a healthy reddish color
“Go home, go home, go home,” I tell myself, but I just stand there, watching a blond boy with
ruddy cheeks skate in a tiny circle until his mother yells that it’s time for them to leave.
strike, usually with the fist
I have a headache so deep it feels like someone
pummeled my brain with a meat tenderizer.
having lost your bearings
I feel a little
disoriented by all the translating.
surgery on nerves to and from the frontal lobe of the brain
I rub my temples with my fingers. “Why does my head hurt so much? Did you give me a
“Have you ever thought about how it might feel for him to leave his family and come to live in the United States? I imagine that could have been
traumatic for him. Well, for both of them.”
affected with madness or insanity
I’m afraid of what Luis is going to say because he has a
demented look in his eyes.
thin and weak
When I head over to the water fountain, Antwon, the new kid with a
wispy Afro, comes up to me and asks me to be his girlfriend.
in a systematic or steady manner
“Do you think the feeling will ever go away? Do you think it’s possible that we can be normal people who can be
a long narrow inlet of the sea between steep cliffs
Then we jumped on a ferry to Scandinavia and took a tour of the
the act of stealing
Then we were forced to be part of an international
attack and bombard with or as if with missiles
“I don’t see what the big deal is, and yet I feel guilty. I have these two competing feelings, you know? Like, logically, I think it’s okay, but it still makes me feel like I’ve committed a crime or something, like everyone will know and
pelt me with stones.”
distinguish and separate out
sift through my stuff to see the damage, I remember Olga’s receipt.
cause a thick or hard area of skin to form on
“Good! That is what I want to hear, mija. Don’t work like a donkey, like the rest of your family.” He shows me his
callused hands, then looks at mine. “Look at you! You have rich-lady hands.”
providing no shelter or sustenance
The Sierra Madre mountains are so
stark and impossibly tall that they fill me with an inexplicable panic.
incapable of being explained or accounted for
The Sierra Madre mountains are so stark and impossibly tall that they fill me with an
sun-dried brick used in hot dry climates
The house is a brighter shade of pink than the last time I was there, and some of the
adobe is cracked.
a person who is rejected from society or home
My family back home never treats me this way because I’m the designated
lining of the stomach of a cow (used as food)
Mamá Jacinta teaches me how to make the menudo they sell near the town square. Unlike the porqueria of other cities and states, her version is made with meat, leg bones, and maíz. That’s it. No chile rojo to hide the dirty
in such a manner as could not be otherwise
The raw meat has a strong animal smell, and as you slice and slice, the tissue
inevitably gets under your nails, and the scent lingers on your hands for hours.
in accordance with convention
Maybe it wasn’t
customary to smile for portraits back then.
make or become dirty or dull, as by exposure to air
I don’t find much, though, just a wooden chest with faded flowered dresses and
an abnormal new mass of tissue that serves no purpose
My grandfather got a
tumor that ate away his lungs, and my grandma followed him a few months later.