The Ombre of Absence | Rose Maria Woodson
Rose Maria Woodson holds an MA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and an MA In Community Development from North Park University. Her chapbook, Skin Gin, was the 2017 winner in the QuillsEdge Press chapbook contest. She is also the author of the mini-chapbook, Dear Alfredo (Pen and Anvil Press.) Her poems have been published in numerous journals including Kettle Blue Review, Clarion, Gravel, Wicked Alice, OVS Magazine, Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature, Volume II, Jet Fuel Review, Stirring, Scape Goat Review and the Mojave River Review. Her short story, “Cupcake Payne”, is forthcoming in Issue 46 of the Oyez Review.
Finally I have found work. Inside an oyster. I put a spin on things, little pings that piss the mess out of you, like being one car behind the car that takes the last parking spot, paper cuts, cheap ass garbage bags that break when you overstuff them, leaving you in a carpet of cartons and egg shells. And worse. I wrap silk around shit like that, over and over again until it becomes. Pearls. All the rage now. Then, again. Rage is all the rage now. The mollusk across the way keeps rain in her heart. She’s all piss and purrs these days. But then, she sleeps with a storm. Keeps spinning apologies around his sorry ass, waiting for some shiny alchemy to gloss over his dross. She’s swimming in a dry river bed, dreaming strawberries, eating dust. Can’t get home like that. I listen over coffee, serve up blueberry muffins and emotional helium. What can you do, Alfredo…what can you do? There are nights I ride the hoot of an owl even though there are no owls here. I hear “who” swooshing through the current and I jump on, take hold of wings not my own and hold dear. Now I know what you knew all along, Alfredo: I had to lift one brick of a foot after the other, one after the other. Pave my own road out of Dodge. Leave the only fireflies I’ve ever known. That’s oxygen- mask- over- your- snout scary. Scarier still when the road fizzles in still waters. The pinwheels in my heart stopped that night. Any knights in white armor were rust stilled. That’s when I learned to knot my own darkness. Arch my life like hyperbole. And swing. Back and forth. Back and forth. I was a flee on a trapeze, looking for a way…and just when I was about to unclench my rope-burned self, I saw them, a pod of photons lighting the brink. I hitched a ride on the mångata. The rest is history. Dear Alfredo, thank you for notting the darkness. Thank you for being. My trellis. At last I am my own magic bean.