angered at something unjust or wrong
In his prime at twenty-nine, he sits on an
incensed bronco like he’s on a swing.
proceeding in a fragmentary, hesitant, or ineffective way
That same morning, using
halting English aided by scratchy illustrations, Hằng persuaded her cousin En-Di (illogically spelled “Angie”) to risk her own father’s fury and drive her to the bus station.
Dad would never let you go. But then he says no to everything. You have to do this alone? He’s going to be
livid, and I guess I can say you insisted and cried and were going to drive off and wreck my Mustang.
characterized by painstaking care and detailed examination
There are steps that must be done, and once done, another step awaits. The last step, after six years of
minute planning by her grandmother, is a bus ride away.
lacking information or instruction
It shocks her that six years ago she was that
naive and silly.
fortitude and determination
Since junior high, he’s been Lee. This morning he bunched Lee to Roy and gave himself some on-the-road
cause to arise
Hằng hides behind a standing picture of a sugar-glazed cake the size of her torso. The image alone
induces a swollen tongue and a stomachache.
a jaunty rhythm in music or speech
The man has an easy, slow, understandable
the act of gratifying a desire
Ripened-papaya hair, speckled face, pillow middle, puffy cheeks, and those eyes, those beaming eyes belong to someone who has received a sky size of
a feature of anything having a complex structure
He does love the sensation of words buzzing inside his throat, especially loves to wrap them around a Texas
contour. He spent all last year in the library looking up cowboy slangs.
able to capture and hold one's interest or attention
Hằng leans out the window, real air
enthralling despite being whipped and hot.
completely neat and clean
immaculate cowboy talks.
expressing much in few words
concise words, without any fat.
a long looped rope used to catch animals
While driving, LeeRoy keeps having to wrangle an unruly map and repeat “Mesquite,” “Street,” “Amarillo,” and “Texas” until his tongue knots into a
being present everywhere at once
But they were spared the
ubiquitous snaky sounds of English and so loved this word most.
a recurrent rhythmical series
“A-ma-ri-lo” rang out in a singsong
cadence, hinting that their little boy might be finding reasons to sing.
cause to do through pressure or necessity
coerced into being a taxicab. The most trying ten dollars I ever did earn. Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got an urgency.”
worn and broken down by hard use
LeeRoy lifts the girl, light as a doll, carries her fire-rescue style to a swing as
decrepit as the porch it occupies.
affectedly shy especially in a playful or provocative way
coy with me, I know you’re busting with stories. Might as well be me you tell it all to. Your brother?”
cause to become imperfect
No other sound
marred the desert night, and the quiet sang in my ears.
pale from illness or emotion
The dimmer the evening turns, the more her face glows
in full control of your faculties
It was always the
poised, tearless patients that worried Mrs. Brown the most.
having the sticky properties of an adhesive
In their last year, when a new quadrant Communist leader began a forceful courting of Mother, Bà knew to appease him with his favorite
glutinous rice and fatty sausages, along with rice wine.
a long backless sofa, usually with pillows
Bà smiled while propped against pillows on the mosquito-netted
something hideous or frightful
Sitting straight, her skeletal hands massaged the blue-purple
monstrosity inside her leg.
On each flower, a center cone springs up like a tiny thumb while red petals outlined in yellow point to the ground, as if reminding the
ebullient thumb to stay centered.
having a difficult and contrary disposition
So relieved the money is accounted for, he almost thanks Mrs. Brown then remembers he has cause to be downright
compete for something
Yet how he talked, all the more once they were away from the airport and driving alongside clogs of cars, each
vying to go fastest.
overcome or allay
She must focus on the new address and on swallowing spit to
appease stomach growls.
active strength of body or mind
She hopes the meaning in English carries more
vigor, the way Vietnamese boys’ names translate to Bravery, Brightness, Intelligence, Prosperity, Strength.
marked by or showing hopelessness
Dynamites must have exploded inside his nose bridge, releasing a red flood that left his caterpillar mustache matted and
an attitude of arrogant superiority
I ain’t thanking you for nothing, so don’t go getting on your
high horse and yelling ‘You’re welcome’ in my face.
defeat in a competition, race, or conflict
His nose throbs and his entire back is put out from getting
trounced at the Lone Star, but at least LeeRoy has gotten to shoot off his mouth for a good long while.
highly complex or intricate
Her words stretch and regroup, bypassing her usual
convoluted way of pronouncing things and sending forth clear syllables in a down-right, upbeat rap.
possessing physical strength and weight; rugged and powerful
She holds out her arms. He’s not flinging himself into them, not yet. Still she prepares for skin-to-skin, for simultaneous sobs, for his shaved hair to tickle her chin, for his
sinewy biceps to squeeze her like metal pipes.
not counterfeit or copied
“I’d give anything to start yesterday all over. She’s a
bona fide pain in the neck.”
make known to the public information previously kept secret
Hằng doesn’t care about their tempers or her own queasiness or how her uncle was able to get Mrs. Brown to
divulge this new address.
scold or reprimand; take to task
admonishes herself for such carelessness.
provided or supplied or equipped with
He’s not just alive, his body pumps rich blood beneath glossy skin and is
endowed with enough protein to twist sinews tight.
lasting for a markedly brief time
Everyone but the real cowboy is talking at once. Her uncle the loudest. Hisses,
fleeting as fireflies, dot the air.