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Central America

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 …

Up Ilamatepec

In El Salvador, this will really happen: Seeping earth. Bitter rainwater. A yellow-green pool turns coffee brown. Incandescent rocks as big as cars hurtle through the air. I had come to El Salvador to understand the world, and I had climbed Ilamatepec to understand El Salvador. But even standing so close to the steaming marrow of the earth, it is hard to know what one is seeing.


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 …