<DIV><DIV><BR>Matanzas, Cuba<BR>CECILIAI<BR>I remember a wide river<BR>and gray parrots with patches of red feathers<BR>flashing across the African sky<BR>like traveling stars<BR>or Cuban fireflies.<BR>In the silence of night<BR>I still hear my mother wailing,<BR>and I see my father’s eyes<BR>refusing to meet mine.<BR>I was eight, plenty old enough<BR>to understand that my father was haggling<BR>with a wandering slave trader,<BR>agreeing to exchange me<BR>for a stolen cow.</DIV><DIV>Spanish sea captains and Arab merchants<BR>are not the only men<BR>who think of girls<BR>as livestock.<BR>Excerpted from The Firefly Letters by .<BR>Copyright © 2010 by Margarita Engle.<BR>Published in 2010 by Henry Holt and Company.<BR>All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.<BR></DIV></DIV> <BR><BR><i>Continues...</i> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>The Firefly Letters</b> by <b>Margarita Engle</b> Copyright © 2010 by Margarita Engle. Excerpted by permission.<br> All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.