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.
There ain’t 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 Spanish…
And clouds got at least ten different names, I say.
Names for 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 something like that.
What’s that one there? Nenny ask, pointing a finger.
That’s Cumulus too. They’re all Cumulus today. Cumulus, Cumulus, Cumulus, Cumulus.
No, she says. That there is Nancy, otherwise known as Pig-eye. And over there her cousin Mildred, and little Joe, Marco, Nereida and Sue.
There are all different kinds of clouds can you think of?
Well, there’s these already that look like shaving cream…
And what about the kind that looks like you combed it’s hair? Yes, those are clouds too.
Phyllis, Ted, Alfredo and Julie…
There are clouds that look like big fields of sheep, Rachel says. Them are my favourite.
And don’t forget nimbus the rain cloud, I add that’s something.
Jose and Dagoberto, Alicia, Raul, Edna, Alma and Rickey…
There’s that wide puffy cloud that looks like your face when you wake up after falling asleep with all your clothes on.
Reynaldo, Angelo, Albert, Armando, Mario…
Not my face. Looks like your fat face.
Rita, Margie, Ernie…
Whose fat face?
Esperanza’s fat face, that’s who. Looks like Esperanza’s ugly face when she comes to school in the morning.
Anita, Stella, Dennis, and Lolo…
Who are you calling ugly, ugly?
Richie, Yolanda, 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 good bye to being my friend for ever.
I’m saying your mama is ugly like… ummm…
… like bare feet in September!
That does it! Both of you better get out of my yard before I call my brothers.
Oh, we’re only playing.
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.
Uh-oh, Nenny. Better get the broom. Too much trash in our yard today.
Franchie, Licha, Maria, Pee wee…
Nenny, you better tell your sister she is really crazy because Lucy and I are never coming back again. For ever.
Reggie, Elizabeth, Lisa, Loui…
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 are like the lumps.
Yeah, and you’re foot fleas, that’s you.
Rosemary, Dalia, Lily…
Jean, Geranium and Joe…
Mimi, Michael, Moe…
Your mama’s frijoles.
Your ugly mama’s toes.
Bebe, Blanca, Benny…
Rachel, Lucy, Esperanza, and Nenny.
The houses on Mango Street