Nancy D Valladares

from Botanical Ghosts, 2019. 


December 1932

Another sleepless night. Even one story above, she could hear the heartbeat of the grandfather clock beating a tempo against her chest from the living room.

We met at the gardens. Do you remember?

There were nights when the air at Lancetilla was so sticky and humid that she felt like she couldn't breathe. Her sheets, limp with sweat, stuck to her body like a cocoon but she kept them to ward herself from the mosquitoes. The slightly sour smell of things that never fully dry caressed her nose every so often, along with the Atlantic ocean brine that came and went with the tides.

Sometimes she woke to sounds of the ocean and lapping waves, as if she had fallen asleep on the beach. The things that kept her awake, she couldn’t name, or perhaps was afraid to.

What do you know about love dorothy?

In moments like these she would write. The gas lamp created a kaleidoscope of shadows over the shelves in the study. The artifacts on her desk, the books, and the specimens became her nightly companions. All the things she could not articulate during the day bloomed at night.

She enjoyed the coherence that came with the dimming of the sun and the orchestra of tropical insects that never slept. Her thoughts turned inward, more balmy than she wanted to admit.

We want to know how you choose who you love

There was hardly anyone around at the station other than the few resident scientists. She wasn’t afraid of wandering alone. Not really. It was starting to wear on her, the lack of sleep and the strange nightly habits she had begun to acquire.

We want you to do something with us.

Will you do it, dorothy?

For Love?