the position of working for an expert to learn a profession
My big sister, Janae, is coming home from her first year of college, after finishing up a school
internship, and she'll be spending the rest of her summer break with me.
make a loud noise
Sometimes I would rather hear the sound of roaring buses, zooming cars, and
blaring music over my sisters’ constant cackling—and Mama’s too.
talk or utter in a loudly laughing manner
Sometimes I would rather hear the sound of roaring buses, zooming cars, and blaring music over my sisters’ constant
cackling—and Mama’s too.
a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
smidgen of bright red lipstick only covers her bottom lip, and the blush on her deep-brown cheeks shows she’s making an effort for Papi.
small porch or set of steps at the front entrance of a house
Zuri, sweep the front
stoop and the staircase when you get back.
small shop selling groceries, especially in a Hispanic area
The whole block is used to our loud mouths by now, but I wonder what the new neighbors will think when we yell each other's names out from windows, down the block, and even from the corner
set in motion, start an event or prepare the way for
I'm about to stop Layla from embarrassing herself further when Marisol interrupts her first, ready to
initiate one of her business transactions.
“I'm Marisol, but you can call me Money Love Mari, for reasons you will soon understand. Can I interest you in any financial
advisory services? It doesn’t look like y’all need any, but things are a little different out here. You might wanna learn how to stretch a million dollars in the hood. I charge by the hour. Small bills, please,” she says, revealing her signature braces and pushing up her glasses.
bawled their eyes out the day she left for college.
the sum charged for riding in a public conveyance
The cab driver honks at us, still waiting for his
an apparatus in which an object is mounted to swing freely
Her colorful beaded elekes hang long and low from her neck, and they sway from side to side like a
pendulum when she walks.
a portable box-shaped free-reed instrument
Mama’s high-pitched laughs and Madrina’s booming words are music—
accordions and congas in a merengue or compas band.
of little substance or significance
And when Papi looks up from his food to add his two cents to the conversation, it’s like his words are a tambora adding deep wisdom to all that
a datum that can be represented numerically
“Yes, you will. And there are two ways to examine the institution of marriage,” Marisol begins, and the whole room sighs because she’s about to spill out a series of facts, numbers, and
statistics that all have to do with the thing she loves most in the world: money.
a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
“It can mean either that marriage is the false
notion that love is forever and a woman is left to depend on her husband for financial support, or that two incomes are better than one. Love is abstract. Money is not.”
existing only in the mind
“It can mean either that marriage is the false notion that love is forever and a woman is left to depend on her husband for financial support, or that two incomes are better than one. Love is
abstract. Money is not.”
He stopped playing games with us, and one day he approached Janae with a letter
professing his undying love for her.
be wide open
All my life, I’ve stared at a
gaping hole in the roof, the boarded-up windows, the slow, creeping forest that was starting to suffocate that house.
smile affectedly or derisively
Janae and I glance at each other, and she
a sheet of waterproofed canvas
There’s a wide blue
tarp hidden beneath an old wooden slat on the roof.
a thin strip of wood or metal
There’s a wide blue tarp hidden beneath an old wooden
slat on the roof.
to or in a foreign country
She pauses and takes in the dead-serious look on my face before responding in her sweet, calm voice. “Honestly, I don’t. I’m applying for some study-
abroad programs. I wanna travel, Z. I wanna see the world. Then I can come back.”
an unproved statement advanced as a premise in an argument
“It depends on how you frame it. What's your angle, your
thesis statement? What are you trying to say?”
move or cause to move energetically or busily
I can see the dim moon in the distance, the orange-blue sky, and can hear the
bustling sounds of Bushwick as they wrap around us, and this roof becomes like a cupped hand holding the two of us up.
a place that attracts many visitors
I’m reading Between the World and Me and thinking about Ta-Nehisi Coates’s
mecca, Howard University, and how it’ll be like a whole other country with no outsiders moving in to change things up and throw things away...
capable of being perceived
There needs to be something more
tangible, like fair housing opportunities, and access to resources.
approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
Ainsley goes along with the whole thing as if he's been
accosted by thirteen-year-olds before.
make or become wrinkled or creased
I can see from all the way over here that his nose is flared, his lips are turned up, and his brows are
furrowed, as if my little sister disgusts him.
walk with a lofty proud gait, often to impress others
“Zuri, you're being ridiculous,” she says, and
sashays her round behind and short summer dress across the street.
having or displaying warmth or affection
tender kissing scenes on TV,
and then afterward practicing on soft pillows
bend or twist out of shape
I press the button, and a
warped black-and-white version of myself appears on the screen.
deficient in originality or creativity
I look past him and into that
low or inferior in station or quality
He just stands there looking at me until, finally, he extends his hand as if reluctantly welcoming me to his
housing that someone is living in
He just stands there looking at me until, finally, he extends his hand as if reluctantly welcoming me to his humble
pay attention to exclusively and obsessively
fixated on Janae and that TV and the couch and that music and the room that I don’t even notice a light-skinned, straight-haired girl getting all up in my face to hold out her hand.