Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-x

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xiv

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following magazines in which some of the works in this book first appeared, sometimes in slightly different versions or under different titles: ...

The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 3-4

From the Book of Dreams in Spanish: Stories and Poems

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 5-6

read more

American History

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 7-15

I once read in a Ripley's Believe It or Not column that Paterson, New Jersey, is the place where the Straight and Narrow (streets) intersect. The Puerto Rican tenement known as El Building was one block up from Straight. It was, in fact, the corner of Straight and Market; not "at" the corner, but the corner. ...

read more

Not for Sale

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 16-21

El Arabe was what the Puerto Rican women called him. He sold them beautiful things from his exotic homeland in the afternoons, at that hour when the day's work is done and there is a little time before the evening duties. He did not carry anything men would buy. His merchandise, mostly linens, was impractical but exquisite. ...

read more

Twist and Shout

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 22-23

It's 1967, summer, and I'm as restless as all of America. The Beatles are inundating the airwaves in our apartment building, drowning out our parents' salsas. My mother has left me alone to keep an eye on the red kidney beans boiling for dinner, while she goes to the bodega for oregano or some other ingredient she needs. ...

read more

By Love Betrayed

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 24-27

As a little girl I imagined my father was a genie that came out of a magic bottle at night. It was a green bottle of cologne that he splashed on his face before leaving the house. I thought it was the strong smell that made my mother cry. ...

From "Some Spanish Verbs"

Orar: To Pray

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 28

Dividir: To Divide

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-30

Respirar: To Breathe

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 31

Volar: To Fly

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 32

An Early Mystery

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 33-34

Fever

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 35

The Lesson of the Sugarcane

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 36

A Legion of Dark Angels

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 37

The Changeling

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 38

Absolution in the New Year

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 39-40

From the Book of Dreams in Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 41

read more

The Witch's Husband

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 42-49

My grandfather has misplaced his words again. He is trying to find my name in the kaleidoscope of images that his mind has become. His face brightens like a child's who has just remembered his lesson. He points to me and says my mother's name. I smile back and kiss him on the cheek. ...

read more

Nada

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 50-60

Almost as soon as Dona Ernestina got the telegram about her son's having been killed in Vietnam, she started giving her possessions away. At first we didn't realize what she was doing. By the time we did, it was too late. ...

read more

Letter from a Caribbean Island

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 61-62

Last night the old man who lived in the cabin next to mine found what he came for. As I told you in my last letter, he was here in Boqueron, trying to spot dolphins. At first I thought he was senile or crazy. But every night after the beach cleared of people, he would sit under the lamppost, sketching on a pad. ...

Guard Duty

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 63-64

The Purpose of Nuns

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 65-66

The Game

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 67-68

The Lesson of the Teeth

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 69

They Never Grew Old

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 70-71

Nothing Wasted

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 72-73

Women Who Love Angels

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 74

To Grandfather, Now Forgetting

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 75-77

My Grandfather's Hat

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 78

Blood

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 79

The Life of an Echo

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 80

Juana: An Old Story

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 81

The Campesino's Lament

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 82

Las Magdalenas

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 83

Olga

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 84

read more

Dear Joaquin

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 85-86

This may never reach your hands. It is unlikely that it will. With your mama watching her nest like a jealous hen and Rosaura keeping you drugged with sex and her witch's brews. You are lucky if you still know your name, much less remember me, the woman who truly loves you. Joaquin, I wait for you in America. ...

read more

Lydia

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 87

I haven't seen her in twenty years—then she swoops down among the relatives in black for my father's funeral. Lydia tells me she has found God in New York City. I see that she wears no makeup, her skirt covers her knees. She holds a Bible like a small black purse on her lap. ...

Vida

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 88-89

Paciencia

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 90

Old Women

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 91-92

read more

Corazón's Café

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-116

Corazon knew that she should go back to the apartment now. It was after closing time, and soon the street would be deserted. But she felt less alone here in the cafe, among the shelves that she and Manuel had stocked together, than she did in their apartment. ...

The Medium's Burden: Other Narratives and Poems

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 117-118

How to Get a Baby

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 119

read more

Advanced Biology

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 120-129

As I lay out my clothes for the trip to Miami to do a reading from my recently published novel, then on to Puerto Rico to see my mother, I take a close look at my travel wardrobe—the tailored skirts in basic colors easily coordinate with my silk blouses—I have to smile to myself, ...

read more

The Paterson Public Library

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-134

It was a Greek temple in the ruins of an American city. To get to it I had to walk through neighborhoods where not even the carcasses of rusted cars on blocks nor the death traps of discarded appliances were parted with, so that the yards of the borderline poor, people who lived not in a huge building, as I did, but in their own decrepit little houses, ...

read more

The Story of My Body

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 135-146

I was born a white girl in Puerto Rico but became a brown girl when I came to live in the United States. My Puerto Rican relatives called me tall; at the American school, some of my rougher classmates called me Skinny Bones, and the Shrimp because I was the smallest member of my classes all through grammar school until high school, ...

The Chameleon

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 147

read more

The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named María

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 148-154

On a bus trip to London from Oxford University where I was earning some graduate credits one summer, a young man, obviously fresh from a pub, spotted me and as if struck by inspiration went down on his knees in the aisle. With both hands over his heart he broke into an Irish tenor's rendition of "Maria" from West Side Story. ...

Saint Rose of Lima

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 155-156

Counting

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 157

Unspoken

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 158

Who Will Not Be Vanquished?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 159-161

Hostages to Fortune

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 162

To a Daughter I Cannot Console

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. 163

Anniversary

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 164-165

read more

5:00 A.M.: Writing as Ritual

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 166-168

An act of will that changed my life from that of a frustrated artist, waiting to have a room of my own and an independent income before getting down to business, to that of a working writer: I decided to get up two hours before my usual time, to set my alarm for 5:00 A.M. ...

The Medium's Burden

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 169-170