1532

it starts with their garden: it’s a square where sunflowers and cilantro dominate most of the landscape, but the yellow isn’t our yellow and the smell of herbs isn’t the scent of ceviche; red roses and white lilies border balconies, bees busy with mechanical wings; they sit on petals, florae skin that doesn’t bend with weight; red ceramic tiles pattern the house, it’s like the inlays from Earth, the ones carved by indigenous people during colonial times, now sliced and glued together by machines; the windows’ arc the golden ratio, the glass from meteoroids that circle the house and sometimes crash into the adobe foundations, who collected hay, cow dung, and dirt? who mixed it together with their fingertips? white walls that reflect the nearing sun; a brown woman with long black hair that reaches her calves, she sweeps away the bits of stars that fall on the house, the house that isn’t hers; she tries to collect the sunflowers seeds by scratching her nails on the soil, but the soil isn’t soil; the ground isn’t ground; the house floats on an angle, it circles a galaxy; ghosts inhabit rooms, they do not clean after themselves, beings leave beds unmade, bedpans full, footprints on the walls; the woman cleans as she soars the atmosphere; the bleach dyes her skin; the owners of the house are there, they’ve never left, neither has she; because the brown woman’s blood is within those four walls, within the square, the false garden; her chronicle has bent timelines permanently; the Spanish colonial architecture is present in the universe, as it travels unstopped by physics but pushed by time; who will she pass on her labor to, she wonders, who will inherit her debt when the universe is done with her. 

(Editors’ Note: “1532” is read by Stephanie Malia Morris on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 20B.)

Ana Hurtado

Ana Hurtado holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Environment from Iowa State University and is a professor of English at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Her work has been published in Strange Horizons, Noble/Gas Qtrly, RHINO Poetry, and others.

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