By Edwidge Danticat
Children of the Sea
p10 I cannot help feeling like she will have this child as soon as she is hungry enough.
p11 ‘Yes, I am finally an African. I am even darker than your father.’
p13 ‘He is trying to protect us.’
‘He cannot protect us, only God can protect us.’
‘All anyone can hope for is just a tiny bit of love’ manman says, like a drop in a cup if you can get it, or a waterfall, or a flood if you can get that too.’
p14 Someone says ‘krik’. You answer ‘krak’. And they say, ‘I have many stories I could tell you’ and they go on and tell these stories to you, but mostly to themselves.
p15 ‘At times I wonder if there is really land on the other side of the Sea. Maybe the Sea is endless. Like my love for you.’
The soldiers were looking for her son. Madan Roger was screaming, you killed him already. We buried his head. You can’t kill him twice.
p17 ‘oh yes, you can let them kill somebody because you are afraid. They are the law. It is their right. We are just being good citizens, following the law of the land. It has happened before all over this country and tonight it will happen again and there is nothing we can do.’
p18 People are just too hopeful and sometimes hope is the biggest weapon of all to use against us. People will believe anything….
p21 I know your father might never approve of me. I was going to try to win him over. He would have to cut out my heart to keep me from loving you.
Think of it. They are fighting about being superior when we all might drown like straw.
Nineteen thirty seven
p48 Life is never lost, another one always comes up to replace the last.
A Wall of Fire Rising
p68 ‘If God wanted people to fly, he would have given us wings in our backs…’
‘You’re right…but look what He gave us instead. He gave us reasons to want to fly. He gave us the air, the birds, our sun.’
p74 People don’t eat riches, they eat what it can buy.
p85 As much as I know that there are women who sit up through the night and undo patches of cloth that they’ve spent the whole day weaving. These women, they destroy their toil so that they will always have more to do. And as long as there’s work, they will not have to lie next to the lifeless soul of a man whose scent lingers in another women’s bed.
Between the Pool & Gardenias
p92 She looked the way I imagined all my little girls would look. The ones my body could never hold. The ones that got suffocated inside me and made my husband wonder if I was killing them on purpose.
…I saw on Madame’s TV that a lot of poor city women throw out their babies because they can’t afford to feed them. Back in Ville Rose you can’t even throw out the bloody clumps that shoot out of your body after your child’s born. It is a crime, they say, and your whole family would consider you wicked if you did it. You have to save every piece of flesh and give it a name and bury it near the roots of a tree so that the world won’t fall apart around you.
p94 For no matter how much distance death tried to put between us, my mother would visit me. Sometimes in short sighs and whispers of somebody else’s voice. Sometimes in somebody else’s face. Other times in brief moments in my dreams.
p96 I’m old like a piece of dirty paper people used to wipe their behinds, and he’s got ten different babies with ten different women. I just had to run.
The Missing Piece
p116 ‘They say a girl becomes a woman when she loses her mother…You, child, were born a woman.’
p119 ‘My grandmother will be mad at me if I get killed’
New York Day Women
p146 In Haiti when you get hit by a car, the owner of the car gets out and kixks you for getting blood on his bumper.
p149 My mother keeps on walking as though she owns the sidewalk under her feet.
p154 Shame is heavier than 100 bags of salt
p163 ‘Don’t say you’ll never dine with the devil if you have a daughter’ she said. ‘You never know what she’ll bring.’
p166 In NY, women give their eight hours to the white man…no one has time to be cradling no other man.
p181 ‘She is my child. You don’t cut off your own finger because it smells bad.’
p185 ‘I can’t accuse you of anything… You never call someone a thief until you catch them stealing.’
p186 ‘Caroline is just like you. She sleeps a hair thread away from waking, and she rises with the roosters.’
p190 If cleanliness is next to godliness, then whenever we had company my mother became a goddess.
p194 ‘Love cannot make horses fly…the heart is like a stone.. We never know what’s in the middle… All hearts are stone until we melt, and then they turn back to stone again.’
p213 ‘The past, it fades a person.’
p215 We were Americans and we had no taste buds. A double tragedy.
Women Like Us (Epilogue)
p219 Are there women who both cook and write? Kitchen poets, they call them. They slip phrases into their stew and wrap meaning around their pork before frying it. They make narrative dumplings and stuff their daughter’s mouths so they say nothing more.
p220 When you write, it’s like braiding your hair, taking a handful of coarse unruly strands and attempting to bring them to unity. Your fingers have still not perfected the task. Some of the braids are long, others are short. Some are thick, others are thin. Some are heavy, others are light. Like the diverse women in your family. Those whose fables and metaphors, whose similies, and soliloquies, whose diction and je ne sais quoi daily slip into your survival soup, by way of their fingers.
p222 Death is a path we take to meet on the other side….we are never any farther than the sweat on your brows or the dust on your toes.