All tagged family

Buckshot

My husband—he’s a butcher—and he brings home the best meats. Livers, he likes those best. And he watches me slice them into long strips. I cook them up for him and I skin potatoes and other vegetables, put them in a pot and let the juices run together. He doesn’t lick his lips because he’s not an animal, he says. Says animals belong in a pot. He’s a man, he says. Just a man. A man who has an affinity for bloody meats and buckshot.

6 Things That Suddenly Matter

The dryer emits a shrill, rodent-style squeak that precedes a period of silence. The sound resembles the screech of a child before refusing to speak without intervention by specialists. Because the dryer is unlike our son, who requires a regimen of speech therapy in order to be appreciated by fellow mammals, I think we should stop paying pros and purchase a new one.

Pastoral

The smell of the powder they release in a pouf on our faces starts the alchemy, my third favorite scent. While getting our makeup done, Dave and I usually talk about our kids. He was such a kind man and his priorities were clear. His family came first and fucking came second.

Bearproof

The game fit Texas rancher country: count cows, and whoever has the most at the final destination wins—but if a cemetery passes on your side, you start back at zero. Molly’d wanted to know whether a little graveyard in the side grounds of a church counted and I said of course and blew all the air out of my lungs through my nose.

The Serpent’s Daughter

Every human being, like every machine, was created to do something. Trains carry people over land, under sea; a fan moves air; an iron presses cloth; a mug holds tea. Likewise, a nursing mother makes milk, a doctor sews skin, a tailor sews clothes, a spy watches people, a philosopher thinks, a judge makes decisions, and Sister Mah prays. She prays all day the way some people hum while they knit or chew gum while they’re taking your order.

Sins of Omission

On sábados you go to the playa in San Juan wearing only your underwear. You are a girl, but one with closely cropped short hair, and your chest has not yet discovered puberty, so going topless still proves to be socially acceptable. Or so you and your immigrant parents think.

Straight Lines

Each question got closer to the point: Was she a bad mother? Phyllis couldn’t think of any traditions. They didn’t go to church. They celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving, sometimes colored Easter eggs, but those seemed too generic to be considered cultural traditions.

Guide to Bharatanatyam

Tapping is first. Tapping is always first, from the first infinity to the last. Tapping is the crux of dance and dance is the crux of life. Learn to tap, your guru says, and everything else will follow. 

Mother to Daughter

She gon talk about your skin. And your forehead. Fat girls, they know to go for what’s obvious, round, shining like a bulb of refrigerator light. She’s coming for you like she do for that last slice of cake sitting there at midnight when the house is pregnant with slumber and sweat—say that.

My Mother, Killing A Lizard

My mother got knocked up in New York City, 1960, and never let me forget it: how she’d sweat standing still, her belly swollen and sore; how the rats would taunt her, perched on the stovetop, finding crumbs to eat no matter how well she cleaned. She soon learned not to bother. She moved to Florida before I could form memory. I never got around to moving myself. By thirty, I knew I wasn’t one for change; by fifty, it was best I stay to help out.

The Dream Work

The obstetrician is a lesbian too, or at least you think she is.“You’re almost forty,” she says while she examines the paperwork you filled out in the waiting room. “Have you been trying to get pregnant?” Tell her that your husband is a lady and that you’ve been trying a lot, with no luck.

Clip

They did not tell me her name. She was my aunt, born in what my parent’s generation of Jamaicans called the Country. She didn't cry much at six months. But I knew what she looked like. I knew because my father's family was a deep brown. Theirs was the type of complexion that held fast to its hue even in New York’s winters. She had black hair that curled on the top and lay slick below the bend of her cranium. She had almond-shaped eyes—the pupils dark enough to shine black in the night. Her feet were smaller than baby-small and her cheeks were round. And under no circumstances did they speak her name.

Taiping Bright and Clear

“Maybe we should stop,” I said, not wanting to meander further down unfamiliar little mud roads. But my mother misunderstood. Her lips clamped, and her butt shifted on the driver’s seat. The car moved on. Pebbles sent flying by rubber wheels hit the underside of the old Proton Saga and clanked gratingly.

TÍA CHAPARRITA

Tía Chaparrita runs a midnight poker game twice a month and deals the best mota in L.A.—tropical bud she moves in from Aguas Calientes four times a year.   She lives off my dead tío’s VA check and her door, her kitchen, is always open to everyone. Beyond cool, I see to my Tía’s every want, her every need.

Three Balloons

If our home is the wicker basket, then Iggy, Sonja, and I are the three balloons keeping this makeshift dwelling airborne. The fourth was Auntie Bern, but she popped. Now her corner sags, and we three puff our chests up to compensate. Her corner is where her brother Marlon likes to crouch. Marlon is ballast. Where are we now, girls? Oh, right. Those are the Laguna Mountains. Iggs preferred the slow flat patchwork collage, keeps telling Marlon she wants to go back. I hope she isn’t next.

Two Tigers

Earlier today, Jade’s mother had taken a whole steamed halibut from the selections lined behind the serving glass. She brought it to the table at the corner of the restaurant nearest the bathroom and called her daughter over, separating the fish into two pieces, one for her and one for Jade. Jade had stared at the tender, white meat of the steaming fish against the black bean and ginger sauce, excited for a meal that wasn’t just rice and vegetables.

Gerd, the Girl with Too Many Arms

She grows up hearing all the rumors about her mother’s death, about how the girl with too many arms forced her way out of the womb with her many hands and split her mother in half. But they have been taking the measure of her since she was a tiny baby, wondering how so many limbs could pass easily out of the same woman, and they have drawn their own conclusions. The girl with too many arms doesn’t think much about it.

Warning

My brother arrives from Chicago with a mustache and a toothache. From a reclined position on our living room couch he enumerates the benefits of being able to walk to the grocery store, the bar, library, to the doctor, the train...