deepundergroundpoetry.com

Aja Lia

   
"Behold the deepest light, of the tender fire"  
†† -Saint Marco, 1664. †  
† †
† †
† †
She likes to carry a bible. †  
I don't judge too harshly. †  
There's worse things. †  
† †
† †
As a child, in her home country, †  
she sold matchsticks by the bundle. †  
At twelve, they're expected †  
to sell them door to door, †  
where the lanterns were kept bedside. †  
† †
Three dollars American, to them, †  
was a day's pay like their fathers. †  
But blue-eyed buyers got a break. †  
Because a pale-eyed baby would be a ticket †  
to the promised land. †  
So they thought, from hopeful rumors. †  
Yet, did any of them †  
ever get to leave that way? †  
† †
At fourteen, the Catholics came. †  
No more match girls. †  
They were liberated from that fire, †  
so was promised. †  
They were then called house cleaners. †  
† †
One broom, for each. †  
If it was forgotten †  
inside a dark lit room, †  
it was taken out of their pay. †  
The old women would bundle some straw, †  
and hand them another one. †  
† †
And, no more eating goats. †  
It was considered unclean. †  
So no more meat, †  
even though they only had it †  
Friday to Sunday. †  
No cows, here. †  
But there were plenty of fruits †  
and vegetables †  
to rummage through, †  
after the trucks took their fill away. †  
† †
She joined the Mission, †  
learned English from the bible. †  
Refined her ability, as a young teacher, †  
learning as she taught those †  
barely younger than her. †  
† †
But her family sent for her. †  
Her father was ailing, †  
a broken back. †  
Her brother had went to the coast, †  
for fish †  
and never came home. †  
† †
No. †  
She'd found her place. †  
† †
16. She was to marry †  
a young man that †  
her parents and his †  
agreed upon. †  
She would get to meet him †  
at their wedding. †  
† †
In trade, †  
her parents would get a mule †  
and a promise for glass, †  
for the house windows. †  
† †
She fled, in the caravan †  
of missionaries, †  
to California. †  
They'd hide her, †  
within the halls †  
and myriad of columns †  
with so many other †  
trapped souls. †  
† †
Her trust got her two sons, †  
that went to proper homes. †  
How would she really know, though. †  
At least at night, †  
she was allowed †  
to sleep only with hope. †  
† †
An uncle came looking for her, †  
he was dressed very well. †  
Yet she had no uncles. †  
So she fled, †  
blind into the rest †  
of America. †  
A bus got her far; †  
Thirty years of anywhere †  
but there. †  
† †
So, here. †  
Right next to me. †  
† †
& †  
† †
I'm fixing her fence. †  
It's the fifth thing †  
I've repaired for her. †  
She offers to pay every time, †  
and I tell her that her smile †  
makes us even. †  
† †
She is beautiful; †  
The scars on her cheeks †  
and the knots on her hands †  
and the dark holes †  
in her eyes †  
where her sons should be. †  
† †
I wish I could give her †  
everything back. †  
But I can't. †  
† †
Yet I will fix †  
everything she ever asks †  
of me. †  
† †
The fence is done. †  
No one is getting in †  
(It won't stop anyone). †  
† †
We stumble through †  
another conversation. †  
Neither of our English †  
is very good. †  
For different reasons. †  
† †
The air around me became static, †  
I can't explain. †  
Words stop at woken blood. †  
† †
-As she touched my arm †  
during her mid, comfortable sentence. †  
I'm sure it broke her shoulder †  
and cracked her elbow, †  
to do such a simple, †  
impossible, thing. †  
She just freed a fraction of herself. †  
An incidental gift for me. †  
† †
I wanted to kiss her, †  
to top off this miracle. †  
But I knew that even strays †  
don't accept just anything. †  
Some people lace it with poison. †  
† †
She opens a door, †  
from the corridor of her fear. †  
They're still coming for her, †  
the men with black badges. †  
† †
I want to tell her, so bad, †  
about this other phone that I carry; †  
There's a hundred and four †  
of me.
Do not worry.
† †
But then I'd just be like †  
one of those †  
that she flees. †  
† †
She lifts a smile †  
(Her shoulder is okay). †  
She mentions coincidences. †  
† †
I scoff †  
(It's what I do). †  
† †
Of course it's purely chance, that †  
we're in the same country †  
same state, same city, †  
same neighborhood †  
during the same period of time †  
† †
and your fence needed mending †  
and I knew how. †  
And that just maybe your God †  
approves of me. †  
† †
She offered me her bible, †  
in trade, good for good. †  
But I knew that †  
it's full of just as many demons †  
as it is angels. †  
-Like a rock song; †  
Play it backwards, †  
it's a much better outcome. †  
† †
Hold on to it, Aja Lia. †  
I'd just use the pages †  
to roll a smoke. †  
† †
She closed the screen door on me. †  
† †
As I walked away, though; †  
† †
"My kitchen light, it's too dim" †  
† †
†† "Okay, maybe tomorrow" †  
† †
"I will make you lunch" †  
† †
†† "You don't eat meat, but †  
†† †how about some ice cream?" †  
† †
"See you then, Saint Marco". †  
† †
† †
And now, †  
my head is burning... †  
Who the hell is this woman, †  
that God has sent to me. †  
† †
† †
~~~ †  
Written by Styxian
Published | Edited 3rd Oct 2022
Author's Note
My first name is Mark. Over the years I've been called many things. Marco is one of the better ones.
*The header quote and Saint Marco are totally made up. But I thought it made a good prelude.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
likes 13 reading list entries 7
comments 26 reads 479
Commenting Preference: 
The author is looking for friendly feedback.

Latest Forum Discussions
SPEAKEASY
Today 2:04am by SweetKittyCat5
SPEAKEASY
Yesterday 11:58pm by Ahavati
SPEAKEASY
Yesterday 11:54pm by Ahavati
POETRY
Yesterday 8:31pm by Carpe_Noctem
SPEAKEASY
Yesterday 7:51pm by Ahavati