Afternoons, women swept heaps of leaves beneath the guava trees and burned them. They kept an eye on their small fires, smoked cigarettes, took the laundry off the line. Evening came swiftly, a large bat wing unfurling dusky purple over rooftops. Lizards slid down the walls to kiss the ground. In the dirty kitchen by the shed, the maids lit kerosene stoves and chopped onions on nicked wooden boards. Craning their necks they could see the evening show on TV through the side window. We played in the dirt at their feet, tied string to beetles’ legs, goaded them to whirring flight. We ladled steamed rice into chicken broth, traced with spoons the limp outlines of squash blossoms that just hours ago baked in the sun by our feet.