I have seen death without weeping the destiny of the Northeast is death Cattle they kill to the people they do something worse.
I don't remember the blood, except that later on, much later I was trying to rub it off with spit and the palm of my hand. But my mouth was dry and it kept escaping me, sliding further up my arm until that night when the water boy came I could finally erase it. …
And I don't remember saying, “Força, força, menina – push hard now, girl.” Because she didn't have to, hardly, and suddenly the slippery blue-grey thing was in my hands, cold and wet as it slid over them. And they were dirty because it was lunchtime and the sticky bean stuff was still on them.…
I knew I had to pull the tight, tense rope away from its scrawny neck, but it resisted and coiled in my hands like an angry telephone cord.
“Scissors, scissors,” I demanded, but the old women shook their heads, looking absently from one to the other, until Antonieta, Lourdes's sister, arrived sheepishly with a pair that had disappeared from my medical kit some weeks before. Lourdes wasn't crying, but the other one – the so little one – was. I couldn't look at it. It was me who had found Lourdes the job clearing the fields where she met Milton, who had just gotten out of Itamaraca, seven years on rape.