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The Lifecycle of Butterflies

When I began to see monarchs fluttering by my rooftop in Morelia, capital of the state of Michoacán, I felt as if I were greeting old friends from home in this most improbable place. Like me, these monarchs were foreigners. None of them had ever been to Mexico, where their great-to-the-nth grandmothers had abandoned their spent grandfathers the previous spring. So far as these butterflies could possibly know, they were simply obeying an itch to fly a few thousand miles, as if by some collective whimsy.

Fire Ants

BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING “NOTABLE”/PUBLISHED ON VELA MAGAZINE:  In those first months living in El Salvador, had I walked down a village street and seen young men leaning against gaping doorframes, their eyes steady upon me, I would have read the wrong story. Then, I could barely speak, let alone interpret …

Adopting Guatemalan

PUBLISHED IN GUERNICA. Each Sunday the avenue that wends its way between the two whitewashed churches of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, becomes a maze of pole-and-plastic-tarp shops hung with brilliant tapestries, embroidered blouses, kaleidoscopic quilts. Within the haze of palo santo smoke, which wafts out of the larger of the two churches, are …

Disappeared

Published in Sycamore Review. It was confusing. I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, but I didn’t know what the right thing was. My instincts railed against a system that would have me call a gray-haired grandmother my “muchacha,” but what did I know? The etymology of “maid” in …