And Some More
from S. Cisneros’
The House on Mango Street
The Eskimos got
thirty different names for snow, I say. I read it in a book.
I got a cousin,
Rachel says. She got three different names.
thirty different kinds of snow, Lucy says. There are two kinds. The clean
kind and the dirty kind, clean and dirty. Only two.
There are a
million zillion kinds, says Nenny. No two exactly alike. Only how do you
remember which one is which?
She got three
last names and, let me see, two first names. One in English and one in
And clouds got at
least ten different names, I say.
clouds? Nenny asks. Names just like you and me?
That up there,
that’s cumulus, and everybody looks up.
Cumulus are cute,
Rachel says. She would say some-thing like that.
What’s that one
there? Nenny asks, pointing a finger.
That cumulus too. They’re all cumulus today. Cumulus, cumulus, cumulus.
No, she says.
That there is Nancy, otherwise known as Pig-eye. And over there her cousin
Mildred, and little Joey, Marco, Nereida and Sue.
There are all
different kinds of clouds. How many different kinds of clouds can you think
these already that look like shaving cream…
And what about
the kind that looks like you combed its hair? Yes, those are clouds too.
Alfredo, and Julie…
There are clouds
that look like big fields of sheep, Rachel says. Them are my favorite.
And don’t forget
nimbus the rain cloud, I add, that’s something.
Dagoberto, Alicia, Raul, Edna, Alma and Rickey…
There’s the wide
puffy cloud that looks like your face when you wake up after falling asleep
with all your clothes on.
Albert, Armando, Mario…
Not my face.
Looks like your fat face.
Whose fat face?
face, that’s who. Looks like Esperanza’s ugly face when she comes to
school in the morning.
Dennis, and Lolo…
Who you calling
Hector, Stevie, Vincent…
Not you. Your
mama, that’s who.
My mama? You
better not be saying that, Lucy Guerrero. You better not be talking like
that… else you can say goodbye to being my friend forever.
I’m saying your
mama’s ugly like…. ummm….
…like bare feet
That does it!
Both of yous better get out of my yard before I call my brothers.
Oh, we’re only
I can think of
thirty Eskimo words for you, Rachel. Thirty words that say what you are.
Oh yeah, well I
can think of some more.
Better get the broom. Too much trash in our yard today.
Maria, Pee Wee…
Nenny, you better
tell your sister she is really crazy because Lucy and me are never coming
back here again. Forever.
Elizabeth, Lisa, Louie…
You can do what
you want to do, Nenny, but you better not talk to Lucy or Rachel if you want
to be my sister.
You know what you
are, Esperanza? You are like the Cream of Wheat cereal. You’re like the
Yeah, and you’re
foot fleas, that’s you.
Your ugly mama’s
Esperanza, and Nenny.