Part I of II
In the City Heights apartment’s dull, pre-dusk light, a worn second-hand couch creaks under the pressure of a little girl jumping on it. Her mother scolds her from the kitchen, where she is slicing off a fish’s head.
Children from neighboring units chase each other through the open front door, past a young man on the carpet, and then back out. The children, almost two dozen of them, some snot-nosed, some barefoot, squeal in Burmese and Nepali, Spanish and Swahili. In the concrete courtyard outside, they laugh as they jump to catch soap bubbles.
One appears in the doorway, a bubble wand in his hand, and pokes an inquisitive nose inside. The woman with the knife shouts something in Burmese, and the boy scurries off, yelping like a hyena.