draw from specific cases for more general cases
As always, variables. As always, the first variable is my father. As always, I can’t say a word about it. As always, Mom doesn’t
extrapolate. So I just sit and watch the snow.
according to what has been declared but not proved
Kelly launched her
allegedly pregnant body at The Freak with her right hand cocked and ready to punch.
move or cause to move in a winding or curving course
There’s a girl walking up the street, in the middle of the street. I don’t know where she came from and it doesn’t look like she knows where she’s going. She’s just
an indirect and usually malicious implication
No flirting, no
innuendo, no tips on how to be prettier or more fashionable, no telling her how to talk because swear words put boys off.
a large entrance or reception room or area
I bring the shovel and the broom to the porch, knock off as much snow as I can from my boots and coat, and take them off inside the
a brief indulgence of your impulses
My room is small and empty, aside from my bed, the school handbook, two trash bags of clothing, and a new backpack Mom got me when she went on her first-day-in-a-new-town shopping
a fleshy underground stem or root, often used as food
“Who would have thought Northern Europeans would rely so much on a plant so poisonous? Everything about it is toxic except for the
tubers themselves. Leaves, stems, roots, seeds, all poison. The secret,” he says, slapping his hand on a stack of books, “is keeping the spuds beneath the soil. Because any part of the plant that sees light can hurt you if you eat it. Even kill you—but only after making you puke your guts out and go crazy.”
disease that involves the clouding of the lens of the eye
Marla can barely see him after years of ignoring her
immaculately clean and unused
She liked what the professor said about poison. She looks down at the house—the house with the abundant skylights and the
pristine deck that she can’t see under three feet of snow.
covered with breadcrumbs or cheese and baked
Tonight we’re having potatoes
au gratin. I slice and Mom places the slices in the potato pot. She has twelve different
au gratin recipes.
a person lacking intelligence or common sense
They argued about it. Marla called Gottfried a
simpleton. Gottfried didn’t call Marla anything.
a wide hallway in a building where people can walk
The Dairy Queen down the
concourse has hot dogs and we both know it.
deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule
They either think I’m so rich I can afford to look this ragged, or they think I’m some first-class
anomaly, like a rotten cashew, a crying baby, or a lack of champagne.
the state of being imprisoned
This morning he had a two-hour-long conversation with Bradford, our friend and driver, about the obvious link between slavery, poverty, and mass
having existed from the beginning
primal way in which my body purged the shrimp from itself was like a peyote trip.
rid of impurities
The primal way in which my body
purged the shrimp from itself was like a peyote trip.
a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses
What a messed-up
duality I live. Three days a week I’m eating food that requires me to pick bones out of my mouth. Chicken bones, goat bones, ox bones. But here I get cheese and crackers as if my American life is one giant art exhibit.
someone who believes in rule by a high-status group
cul de sac
“I have all I need at Dad’s house. I don’t need your lamb chops or your BMW.”
“You make us sound like
elitists. We donate to the animals all the time. We know there are horrible things happening in the world. We’re a lot older than you, you know.”
a street with only one way in or out
I keep biting my lips as Marla takes her final crazy turn into her
cul-de-sac and we head for her driveway.
a system of principles governing morality and conduct
“Good kid,” Gottfried says, after he closes the closet door. “A good work
the courage or spirit to carry on
Gottfried thinks about his favorite granddaughter, Loretta. Kid has
spunk. Something different from the others.
poor enough to need help from others
He thinks about the last time he saw them all—years now—and how they looked
continue talking or writing in a purposeless manner
She keeps saying uh-huh to Missy, who is most likely
rambling on the other end of the phone. She tends to
a loud, harsh, or strident noise
Windy night, busy inside with the
din of eat-in customers, and I get your order wrong. You say, “No! I said LARGE, not SMALL!”
lament the future of our country with people like me in charge.
It’s not just a passing comment or a racist
quip in the hallway. My whole house is wallpapered with hate.
dilated almost completely, he looks like he has black irises and I know I must look the same way and I don’t know what time it is.
an organization of performers and associated personnel
Loretta listens as her flea
troupe talks to her about the issues in the show.
ordinariness as a consequence of being average
“Solatium tuberosum, our modest friend from the Andes, saved you from certain
mediocrity. Grew your population while others withered—doubled it in some places. Rose you up. Rose up your children, your servants. Starched you rigid into your beliefs. The key to the kingdom was yours for the taking. Who wouldn’t take that key?”
a very slender natural or synthetic fiber
Everything on the other side is roots. White
filaments searching for water and nutrition. The longer she looks, the more roots she sees.
treat with smoke, especially with the aim of disinfecting
They blame the RV camp for having bugs. The landlord comes to
fumigate once a month. This is why Loretta takes her lunch box to school every day. Just in case.
a basis for comparison
Did you know plaque is considered a living thing?
Not kidding. It fits all the
criteria to be a living thing.
characteristic of those who treat others with arrogance
We don’t talk about it because he’s a
condescending jerk about the whole thing and thinks I believe he voted with his wallet.
marked by or showing unaffected simplicity
I’ve been grounded by having a mother who thinks I’m
naïve for not hating my best friend because of the amount of melanin in his skin.
occurring before a marriage
Like, my mom had to sign a
prenuptial agreement and everything.
a characteristic likelihood of or natural disposition
You have no
inclination to listen because you already know everything.
a feeling of great elation
I have the
euphoria you checked at the door when you stood at the altar, defended your dissertation, said yes to that job you never wanted.
a treatise advancing a point of view resulting from research
I have the euphoria you checked at the door when you stood at the altar, defended your
dissertation, said yes to that job you never wanted.
characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion
Drooling, you tell me about your
grueling day at the office. You think I care.
acceptable to the taste or mind
I make life more
palatable. I make it livable.