(click on a title to read any of the stories listed below)
"After church we shuffle into the school cafeteria and settle into our folding chairs to watch the pastorela . . . Iíve been watching this play since I was a little kid. Every year the same dusty devils tempt the same sorry shepherds. In the end the devils are defeated and everyone gets amazed at the baby Jesus in his grocery box lined with straw."
"In time they adapted to life on the coast. Prospero learned to fish the shallows with his butterfly nets. The children grew limber climbing the coconut palms and hunting for oysters in salt pools along the shore. If there was not bounty, there was always enough."
"The outing is Felicia's idea, an extravagance she knows they can't afford. Now watching her son trudge along silently beside her, she wonders if it was a mistake. If she should be home like other moms. Her hair tied back in a red-and-white-checkered bandana, bending over a greasy stove, a can of EZ-Off in a gloved hand. Later mixing a batch of molasses cookies in a brown bowl with a white rim."
"He remembered watching the children playing on the street. He remembered the screeching, the loud bang, the way that kid had flown through the air, dropped out of sight between two parked cars."
"She was getting tired. It would be nice to hold on to the little red boat for a while, at least until they finished talking. She reached out of the water. 'Help me, please?'"
"Wind tickles her neck. She stands in a field where windows grow like wild irises and the cat is crouched and purring atop her feet. A door slithers by. There's the echo-like sound of a tock swallowing its own tick."
"In his seat, Tommy edged over to make room for Fibonacci's ample behind. Miss Hempel glanced at him, cocked her head. Other children turned to look, sneer, and chatter like silly finches. Tommy couldn't believe he'd ever felt like one of them."
"As if she could read her mind, Ursula somehow knew that Little Ursula planned to duck and dive into the street during the next volley. But she also saw what the child could not: on the next block, a white El Dorado was speeding toward them."
"My tears drop onto your head, spill into your eyes. Was that a blink? Did your ear just twitch? I hold my breath, but nothing moves. Even your eyes are motionless, though a dim light still flickers in them, like the most distant star in the sky."