Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. vii

Author’s Note

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p. viii

The Legend of Golondrina

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Eliberto González, aka Chabuya, who tells the best stories, including the one about when we were married. María Teresa G. Pedroche, pintora de las primeras, who gave me her art. Diana Flores, activista who should be president. Lupita Beltran...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

How my mother crossed the border... Mami’s got the radio on as usual, it’s Selena with her Como la flor, and I turn it up. Como la flor . . . all the love that you gave me has died and how it hurts how it hurts...

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PART ONE: Where are you going, my beloved swallow?

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pp. 9-45

see the five-year-old niñita running barefoot all the way to the plaza, holding tight to a precious basket of pan dulce, her voice a pink aria sweeter than the precious bread she carries. At the Plaza of the Embraces, Amada’s voice chimes right after the...

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PART TWO: What home are you seeking with your untiring wings?

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pp. 47-82

¡Apúrale, vieja!” Daddy yells at Mami. “Two days and one night,” he says. He stands outside with me, Lucero, five years old and wide awake beside him, the weather clean and blue as jeans hanging on the clothesline...

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PART THREE: To reach it safely, what wind will you follow?

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pp. 83-196

“This time,” Daddy promises Mami, “the boss’s giving us a real house and it’s getting repainted just for us, pink for the girls, and Mr. Carson says there’s even a swingset for the kids! ¡Fíjate nomás! Can’t you just...

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PART FOUR: Your wings have endured such storms and you are so far from home.

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pp. 197-224

If you want a boyfriend, you have to know the polkita. His name is Seledonio, but everybody calls him Sol. Like the sun. When he talks, every sentence has a bad word. But on him they sound like summer, like the beginning of the world, like he’s a messenger sent to teach me a new...

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PART FIVE: Come to me, sweet feathered pilgrimed stranger.

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pp. 225-238

Amada likes to wash dishes, it helps her forget, better than drinking those cold beers at night that only bring nightmares. The steam mixes with her sweat, and she takes care to hand-wash the plates and cups and forks and bowls so they gleam in their white...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 239-242

Here on the west side of the river, the devil shakes her cola when the accordion opens up like a story that has no ending. Joe is jammin’, Sonny’s glowin’, and el parche is squeezing that box, burning those buttons all the way into Tex-Mex purgatory...