Translation

You Can't Read

They need to feel you’ve been properly flayed

What’s that you’re saying now? Oh, it was your grandmother who didn’t know how to read, and you’ve been in the school system from preschool to college? I see, so you really don’t get what’s going on when people talk to you. Your grandmother, your sister, you, it’s all the same. Don’t you get it? You believe in assimilation, you only wore a headscarf for a couple of years when you were a teenager — that’s fine. But, I mean, we can’t just let go and leave what is French in your hands.

Old Veranda

Old Veranda

I saw a man with two noses, a double nose

The house in Raipur that we moved into later has verandas that are more like rooms. It’s hard to say why they aren’t rooms, or what makes them verandas. One of them is called the old veranda. The house was built slowly and all at once.

Training Day

Training Day

“We at Amazon think every day is a first day."

He says: “We at Amazon think every day is a first day. Remember that. This is a good opportunity to make a note of that and get in on the ground floor and move up. Jobs are still being filled, the company’s still on the up, but between you and me, everyone knows nothing can grow forever.”

The Interview

The Interview

Christmas on Amazonstraße

You’re the only person to get off the tram at Amazon’s stop, and you immediately know what a global corporation looks like. It can’t be missed, but it could be improved. The dispatch hall is built gray and low, parallel to the street; it’s huge but discreet. It appears docile, like a tamed giant or a prisoner on parole, trying hard neither to do anything criminal nor to look like he might. There’s a banner on the fence surrounding the building, announcing job vacancies. Your boyfriend told you not to even think about failing the interview, that they’re bound to take you.

Calcium Commune

Calcium Commune

Harry the Tooth is a good five meters in front of the women. His heavy backpack drags his osteoporotic shoulders down almost to his knees. Big beads of sweat soak his worn cotton shirt, grinning out from which is the ecstatic face of long-dead pop monster Robbie Williams. “Prosciutto, Pomodoro Secchi, Ciabatta!” He groans at me, grinning and doing his name justice. At almost 81 years old Harry the Tooth still has a complete set of teeth, all his own, and as such is the sole resident of Calcium Commune, as we call the apartment the six of us share, who wasn’t named for a bodily flaw.

I Know My Son Is Alive, and He's Going to Be a Teacher

I Know My Son Is Alive, and He's Going to Be a Teacher

"The authorities should pay for what they did, because they’ve done the worst thing to the most humble of people."

The boy is hundreds of miles from the shrimp and the corn, from his placenta and from his mother. He may be, along with forty-two others like him, inside some strip of the state of Guerrero where the soil exudes the smell of death. Meanwhile, his father is hanging on.