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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

What he says sounds sometimes like broken clay, and at other times like hollow sticks, or like the swish of old feathers crumbling into dust.

In this first quotation, the narrator of the story describes the voice of the boy she fell in love with, who she knew as "Boy Baby." The images she uses foreshadow the tragic outcome of the relationship between her and this boy. The promises he makes to her and the stories he tells her are "hollow" like the sticks, and her life becomes "broken" like the clay. The "feathers," which symbolize flight and freedom, crumble "into dust" just as the freedom of her childhood crumbles after the boy gets her pregnant and disappears.

The something inside bit me, and I gave out a cry as if the other, the one I wouldn't be anymore, leapt out.

This second quotation refers, metaphorically, to the new self that took over the narrator after she became pregnant. The new self is the ominous "something" that "bit" her, and the old self is "the other" that "leapt" out of her. The old self is the innocent child she was before she slept with "Boy Baby," and the new self is the embryonic form of the new person she must now become.

I can feel the animal inside me stirring in his own uneven sleep . . . it's the ghost of him inside me that circles and circles, and will not let me rest.

In this third quotation, the narrator describes the baby inside of her. She describes it as an "animal . . . stirring," implying some sort of inhuman presence, restless to be born. She also refers to the baby as "the ghost" of "Boy Baby." To her "Boy Baby," or at least the "Boy Baby" she thought she met and fell in love with, is now dead. The baby reminds her of him so that she is haunted by his memory. The phrase "circles and circles" compounds the impression of the baby as restless and also connotes a predatory animal, circling its prey before deciding to pounce.

It's like a top, like all the colors in the world are spinning so fast they're not colors anymore and all that's left is a white hum.

This fourth quotation is a metaphorical description of love, offered by another character in the story, Lourdes. In this quotation, love is described as a spinning top, "spinning so fast" as to produce a dizzying, disorienting whirl of colors until the whirl becomes nothing but "a white hum." This seems a rather appropriate metaphor to describe the narrator's experience of love with "Boy Baby." At first she felt dazzled by him, and her feelings swept her up as if into a spinning whirl of color. And then afterwards, after she lost her virginity to him and became pregnant, the love was reduced to a numbness, "a white hum." There is also an irony in the fact that the central image in the metaphor is a child's toy. Her love for "Boy Baby" was a childish love, which cruelly led to the loss of her childhood.

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