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Image for Places from my Tropic Dreams   
Copyright 2007 by VILLE AHONEN

Places from my Tropic Dreams

Her face gleams pearl white, her black hair trailing across the sun. And she might reach down and say:

Let's walk out of the plaza and the shade of the jacaranda trees to the ancient convent. There are no nuns there anymore. On the terracotta roof doves sit against the flat blue sky. Bougainvillea climbs hot pink up whitewashed walls. In the patio it is cool green amid palm fronds and lime trees and the splash of fountains. The late light moves across us like a ghost.

Or she could walk ahead, turning to glance at me:

Let's follow the dirt road out to the abandoned airstrip where the windsock still hangs, then left at the forked tree, then left again on the footpath falling to the sea. There fishing boats bob pastel in the cove by the shade of coconut palms. Rent a hammock to hang in the small-leafed cuailote tree and wait for the sunset to spread across the Pacific.

Or thread her fingers through mine, laughing:

Let's find the place where the dunes build off the sea until they become a desert. There the road winds down to the old village where the turtle fishermen live. Wait until night and they will take us in their small boats into the bay. The stars press down hard on the water. The jumping fish gleam phosphorescent. When we run our fingers through the water, the wake reflects the shining sky.

And now close beside me, her head on my shoulder:

Let's climb the road through the mountains to the valley where it is always spring. At the heart of the valley, a city glistens white against the impenetrable green. Walk its cobbled streets in the evening until we come to the laughter and music of the plaza. When silence falls, listen very carefully and you can hear the sloths nibbling tender leaves high up in the eucalyptus trees.

And then she will place a chato of dark rum before me. "Sip it slowly," she will whisper. "Let it run over your tongue and into your memory."

Copyright 2007 by William Reese Hamilton


William Reese HamiltonWilliam writes:
"Of course she is not precisely real, nor are the places she lures us to—a romantic mix of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and probably the Philippines, where I caught my first and lasting case of lust for ripe days and steamy nights. The stuff of dreams. It might seem queer that, having grown up in Japanese Internment Camp No. 1 in the middle of war-blasted Manila, I should have retained this unquenchable nostalgia for the taste and smell and bright fullness of the tropics. But that's likely why I chose to live in Choron, Venezuela, a small fishing village on the Caribbean, butted up against a mountainous rainforest, in a region that produces the finest cacao in the world."

William Reese Hamilton's stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The North American Review, Puerto del Sol, Night Train, Ink Pot, Smokelong Quarterly, and elsewhere. He can be reached at when the electricity and telephone are working.

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