Anyone walking down Feltwhip Road early that morning would have noticed the light in the shop window. The clouds were heavy with water scooped up from the sea, and they threatened to dump it all at once onto the dark streets of Graves. Even so, the golden flicker of that lone candle in the window might make someone stop and linger for a moment.
“Isa, this package came for you.” Mamãe sets a box in front of my cereal bowl.
“It’s from Vó Ziza,” I say. My granny, Ziza, lives in Brazil, far away from our family in Miami.
A young girl has a dream about a monster. The monster is gray. It enters her window at night, just pulls it open and slides through, facing her, sagging and infinitely wrinkled, with rotting teeth. It reaches its long shadow-arms into her parted lips and down her throat to grab her life, to take it from her. She wakes up screaming.
The bus is on fire.
No, wait—before that.
It’s 5 AM and I’m in a panicked scramble for my duffel bag.
Name me America
Because I am discovered
I am here. I am this body.
This breath a gust. This pulse a drum.
I am poised and fist-ready…