Chapter 7: Poison Ground

Codi helps Emelina to organize her yearly "little fiesta" for Labor Day weekend. School starts the following Tuesday. Codi remembers how she applied for the job. She didn't think she had a chance because she did not even have a teaching certificate. Codi is nervous about the start of school. Emelina tells Codi that J.T. and Loyd will both be at the fiesta. Codi controls her reaction.

The party reminds Codi of a high school reunion. She talks with Trish García and tries to prove that she has grown up better than the former cheerleader. Loyd comes up to Codi, and they begin talking as if they had seen each other the day before, flirting. Codi overhears the old men talking about the fruit drop that is attacking the trees; the disease is due to the sulfuric acid dumped in the river by the Black Mountain Mine. The Environmental Protection Agency has apparently just intervened, but the men still think all of the trees in the canyon may die.

Chapter 8: Pictures

Codi walks up by the old Black Mountain Mine and the hospital at which her father works. She runs into Uda, an older woman whom she does not recognize, but who clearly remembers her. Uda tells her she looks just like her mother.

Codi remembers back to two years before when Doc Homer told her of his illness. She hadn't seen him in a long time, and they organized a meeting at a scientific conference Codi was attending in Las Cruces. They met for drinks in a cheesy Mexican bar, and Doc Homer told her he had "a terminal disorder of the brain." They immediately fell into the old patterns of their relationship. He asked her to tell no one, not even Hallie, and Codi kept quiet, even though she wanted to protest. As she thinks about her father's illness and the difficulties it will pose to his extreme self-sufficiency, she begins to understand and to forgive him.

Codi finds Doc Homer working in his dark room; photography is his one hobby. Codi wanders around the house, remembering and exploring it. Noticing the collection of the American Journal of Genetics, she considers the article he once published there on inbreeding in Grace and thinks that everyone in the town is related except for her family. Finally, Codi knocks on the darkroom door and is invited in. To her surprise, her father looks exactly the same as always. They have a brief conversation about how everyone in Grace knows exactly what she's up to, while she can't even remember who they are.

Back at Emelina's, on the night before school starts, Codi's insomnia sinks in as she remembers her recurring nightmare of suddenly going blind. Emelina tells Codi that Uda Dell used to take care of her and Hallie when they were little, and that it was Uda's husband Eddie who saved the two girls from the riverbank. Codi does not remember,and is distressed that everyone in town seems to know more about her past than she herself does. After Emelina leaves, Codi writes to Hallie in Managua, telling her about being back in Grace and asking her if she remembers the night on the riverbank.