In her three tongues (Bikol, Pilipino and English) and line drawings, Merlinda resurrects old voices and images from her first heart, first home. About this return, she writes:
I come home stuttering, but I try. I even try to evoke in English the lilt of the old voices, their taste on the tongue. But the timbre of old loves is elusive and nostalgia can be a curse. It is wiser to make the most of wintering with the new sweetheart. English prose. But I know, try as I do, this English that I need to love more because of the demand of domicile, this English that has opened secret doors for me can never begin to comprehend how, at times —
napuputot an bayawas sa sakuyang puso.
(the guava unripens in my heart.)