Thrice Married (Once Divorced), Reflects on Her Relationship with Her Mother While Lying on Her Bed, Mexico City, 1990

Mother rescued the three zebras that escaped from the London Zoo.

For years, I didn’t believe it.

When I was really little, she would tell me the Luftwaffe’s bombs were as loud as a sweet potato man’s steamer, like a jet engine on the runway. When I was a year or so older, she let me know that the bombs were far-off whistles, exploding out in the suburbs. Then, when I was too old to be bounced on her knee, she said the bombs were hitting the flats next door, the bandstand in the park, the bridge over the Thames.

One flattened the neighbor’s coach house; blood dripped from baby Victor’s left ear.

Every time Mother told the story, she said she had run out to the street in her blue silk bathrobe and Moroccan slippers, a cigar jammed into the side of her mouth like Mr. Churchill.

When I was little, she said the zebras had been so frightened, she only had to grab one’…