Beth Alvarado is the author of two books, Anthropologies: A Family Memoir (University of Iowa Press, 2011) and Not a Matter of Love (Many Voices Prize, New Rivers Press, 2006). Recent essays have been published inThird Coast, North American Review, Nimrod, and Sonora Review; recent stories have appeared in or are forthcoming fromWestern Humanities Review, The Collagist, The Southern Review, and Drunken Boat, the Librotraficante Issue. Beth is the fiction editor of Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts andhas been a Lecturer at the University of Arizona since 1990.
Photograph by Fernando Alvarado
The summer Fernando’s mother saw la llorona, she was just a girl. They had sprayed down the dirt outside the house, to cool the air, it was early evening. They had sprayed the dirt, packed it down with their bare feet until it was hard and polished as stone, they had taken the beds outside to sleep under the trees, behind the hedge in her grandparents’ yard, and they all saw her, a woman dressed in white, floating down the street, like this, as if her feet weren’t moving. That was the summer her two younger brothers died. First the older one and then the baby. The morning the baby was dying, her father was sitting at the table in the kitchen. He felt so helpless. And then the older one came back on a breeze through the open window and told him he would take care of the baby.
From Anthropologies: A Family Memoir
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