3 " Enlightenment is not about attaining an ultimate level of intelligence or intellect. It is regained by shedding all the ideas, illusion and binds thrust on you and that you then so readily accrue. "
7 " Her mother stared in quiet awe of this more artful rearrangement of her genetic code, and slipped into a contentedness that usually appeared only after the red wine had fallen below the bottle label. "
8 " The girl's face hollowed with resignation; it had been a long time, but Sonja remembered what it was to have that face, what it was to feel you were no brighter than the dumbest man, no stronger than the weakest boy, and with those ideas crowding your head no wonder subordination was the only inevitable outcome. "
15 " the absence isn’t immediate, more a fade from the present tense you shared, a melting into the past, not an erasure but a conversion in form, from presence to memory, from solid to liquid, and the person you once touched now runs over your skin, now in sheets down your back, and you may bathe, may sink, may drown in the memory, but your fingers cannot hold it. "
16 " The missing remained missing and the portraits couldn't change that. But when Akhmed slid the finished portrait across the desk and the family saw the shape of that beloved nose, the air would flee the room, replaced by the miracle of recognition as mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, and cousin found in that nose the son, brother, nephew, and cousin that had been, would have been, could have been, and they might race after the possibility like cartoon characters dashing off a cliff, held by the certainty of the road until they looked down -- and plummeted is the word used by the youngest brother who, at the age of sixteen, is tired of being the youngest and hopes his older brother will return for many reasons, not least so he will marry and have a child and the youngest brother will no longer be youngest; that youngest brother, the one who has nothing to say about the nose because he remembers his older brother's nose and doesn't need the nose to mean what his parents need it to mean, is the one who six months later would be disappeared in the back of a truck, as his older brother was, who would know the Landfill through his blindfold and gag by the rich scent of clay, as his older brother had known, whose fingers would be wound with the electrical wires that had welded to his older brother's bones, who would stand above a mass grave his brother had dug and would fall in it as his older brother had, though taking six more minutes and four more bullets to die, would be buried an arm's length of dirt above his brother and whose bones would find over time those of his older brother, and so, at that indeterminate point in the future, answer his mother's prayer that her boys find each other, wherever they go; that younger brother would have a smile on his face and the silliest thought in his skull a minute before the first bullet would break it, thinking of how that day six months earlier, when they all went to have his older brother's portrait made, he should have had his made, too, because now his parents would have to make another trip, and he hoped they would, hoped they would because even if he knew his older brother's nose, he hadn't been prepared to see it, and seeing that nose, there, on the page, the density of loss it engendered, the unbelievable ache of loving and not having surrounded him, strong enough to toss him, as his brother had, into the summer lake, but there was nothing but air, and he'd believed that plummet was as close as they would ever come again, and with the first gunshot one brother fell within arms' reach of the other, and with the fifth shot the blindfold dissolved and the light it blocked became forever, and on the kitchen wall of his parents' house his portrait hangs within arm's reach of his older brother's, and his mother spends whole afternoons staring at them, praying that they find each other, wherever they go. "
17 " The look on his face told her what had happened and that hurt burrowed deeper than anything she'd ever felt, deep enough to change from the thing she felt to the thing she was. Love, she learned, could reduce its recipient to an essential thing, as important as food or shelter, whose presence is not only longed for but needed. "
19 " If he had the cleft tongue of a devil, or the snake hair of a Medusa, or the matted hair of a wolf-monster, Akhmed might understand. But Ramazan had two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, pairs of arms and legs and ears, hair greasy, but not slimy and certainly not slithering, and Akhmed did not understand. "