Archive > Vol. X no. Z
Lieu de Nightshade Mémoire
She’s blonde but wears a black wig as Nightshade in the 1966 series of Charlton Comics. In real life she is Eve Eden and her father a U.S. senator, although her powers came from her mother, a visitor from another dimension, whose inhabitants have the ability to transform themselves into living two-dimensional shadows. When I listen to the weather forecast, I wonder why they never say it might shade tonight. And I think of her when I’m eating tomatoes, especially coeur de boeuf, folded into itself like the fist of a cow’s heart when it contracts. Lycopersicon lycopersicum beat the hearts of tomatoes, which belong to the family of Solanaceae, nightshade, whose shiny black fruits make the eyes so full of light. But what kind of night shed is this shade thing? The hangout of Atropa belladonna, beautiful lady with scissors, or the shadow cast by the light of the moon when my mother opened the door of my bedroom to make sure I was still breathing since I slept each night with the sheet pulled tightly over my head? The most easterly window on the cold northern side of the church that Sarah Losh built in Wreay, England, holds a stained glass image of deadly nightshade, framed by fragments of blue medieval glass from windows shattered at the Hôtel de Sens in Paris during the 1830 rebellion, while across the church, light passes through transparent glass leftovers bearing words I saw my mother write — memo, ate — on the note to the babysitter just before she went out in her tulle-veiled fascinator, a slice of the moon’s shadow pinned in her hair. Captured alive in nets, the French songbird ortolan is blinded, force-fed in darkness until doubled in weight and then drowned in Armagnac so that when ortolans are served, there are no leftovers: white napkins cover the head of each diner gathered around the table as he consumes the head, bones, and body of the bird in a single steaming mouthful, in total silence with a glass of Sauternes and the shades drawn.