an offensive or indecent word or phrase
None of the foam or the underwire remains in the pointed brassiere, and the seat is worn to near
having no fixed course
The perceptions come without warnings or explanations,
erratic as lightning.
a large square-rigged sailing ship with three or more masts
Men in wet suits will find the
galleon three years from now.
having edges that are jagged from injury
I find Abuela sitting motionless on her wicker swing, wearing a worn bathing suit, her hair stuck haphazardly to her skull, her feet strangely
killing or offering as a sacrifice
I think I’d prefer self-
immolation, on a stage perhaps, with all my paintings.
a low or downcast state
Degradation, she thinks, goes hand in hand with the certainty of deprivation.
a state of extreme poverty
Degradation, she thinks, goes hand in hand with the certainty of
Odious armchair socialists!
wealth as evidenced by sumptuous living
Lourdes wishes Ivanito were with her so she could point out the
opulence—the nine-hole golf course, the landing dock for the seaplane, the Carrara marble floors.
turn away from by persuasion
When Dona Zaida realized she couldn’t
dissuade Rufino from marrying Lourdes, she took control of the wedding instead.
a person of subnormal intelligence
“My dear Celia, I cannot have my son getting married at a picnic on the beach,” Dona Zaida patiently explained, as if Lourdes’s mother were an
urge with or as if with a prod
I rode with one hand on the pommel and the other
goading my horse with a switch.
provoke or stir up
I galloped hard,
inciting a stampede.
a wild headlong rush of frightened animals
I galloped hard, inciting a
inspiring mixed contempt and pity
She tells me that before the revolution Cuba was a
pathetic place, a parody of a country.
censure severely or angrily
Mom eavesdrops on Abuela and me then
lambastes us with one of her sixty-odd diatribes when she doesn’t like what she hears.
thunderous verbal attack
Mom eavesdrops on Abuela and me then lambastes us with one of her sixty-odd
diatribes when she doesn’t like what she hears.
pertaining to a sudden loss of consciousness
apoplectic because she has to pay for a hotel room and three meals a day even though we’re staying with relatives.)
showy tropical tree or shrub native to Madagascar
There’s something about the vegetation, too, that I respond to instinctively—the stunning bougainvillea, the
flamboyants and jacarandas, the orchids growing from the trunks of the mysterious ceiba trees.
excessively hot and humid; marked by sweating and faintness
sweltering in the capital, and Lourdes wipes her brow repeatedly with a moist cloth she keeps on the seat beside her.
a representation of a person exaggerated for comic effect
He looks smaller, too, more vulnerable, a
caricature of himself.
not genuine or real
She removes her gold bracelets, her sheer stockings, her pink rayon dress with the
faux-pearl buttons, and lies on her childhood bed.
old and twisted and covered in lines
She buries her feet in the sand until she is planted, rooted as the palms, rooted as the
gnarled gardenia tree.
put under water
submerges her throat and her nose, her open eyes that do not perceive salt.
put out, as of fires, flames, or lights
Celia closes her eyes and imagines it drifting as a firefly through the darkened seas, imagines its slow